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The Weeping Grounds: The Chronicles of Covent Paperback – June 22, 2014
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The psychological horrors, the excruciatingly detailed fight scenes, and the sinister tone of doom and gloom that pervade this book gave it a sharp, dark edge that resonated stronger in this book than the other two. The epic conclusion of this book was a major payoff, and without any spoilers, let's just say that Shade finally gets his day in the sun. Excellent gripping fantasy from a true talent in the genre!
For those for whom THE WEEPING GROUNDS is the first Shade Chronicle, it helps to know the back history of Book 1: Doljinaar. Kingdom of might and stone. One name is whispered upon the lips of every man, woman or child old enough to know fear. An assassin lives among them. A foreigner born of a far off dark land and yet lies as close as their shadows. An assassin that goes by the name of Shade. It has been many long years since Shade left the black forests of his people, the Dark Elves, where he was trained among the ranks of the Unseen. He has grown rich and powerful in the world of men, feeding off mankind’s compulsion for spilling its own blood. His name has become like a cold wind slipping in through the night, but even he tires of his own legend and yearns for a challenge. And so when Shade was offered a job that could mean his own downfall, he did not hesitate to accept. He would strike at the crimelord of the Kurn underground. In one bold stroke he would make himself an enemy of his own dark underworld. Has he finally found a worthy enemy or will this contract be his last?
Now that leads into Book 2: ‘A contract has been written soon to be sealed in the blood of kings. The Shaltearan Brotherhood, the largest and deadliest guild of assassins, creeps out of the shadows of mighty Doljinaar, eager to deliver the king's head. Shade signs his own contract, which puts him on a collision path with his longtime rivals the Shaltearan Brotherhood. Shade is forced to defend his title as the world's top assassin and play the unlikely role of hero, tested in the most high stakes battle of his life. Among the Shaltearan's number lurks a worthy rival who considers himself the future and Shade the past. A rival assassin who moves like a ghost among men, leaving only death behind in his wake and he has his eyes set upon the Dark Elf's crown. Shade's epic struggle against the Shaltearan Brotherhood and their cocky young prodigy takes him across the sprawling capital of Doljinaar, City of Kings in this action-packed battle to the death.’
Book 3 THE WEEPING GROUNDS: A band of western slave traders think they have struck gold when they pull a half-dead Dark Elf out of the swirling sands of the Great Waste. They shackle him with the long lines of other night mortals and ship him overseas. Little do they know that inside this Dark Elf's glowing yellow eyes lies the patient glimmer of a killer... Yet the slavers are not the only ones with cause for fear. Shade embarks on his darkest journey yet. Dragged across the Sea of Mourning, the sea that always weeps, Shade learns the true meaning of suffering and humiliation. From dark twisted visions of evils older than time itself, to the overwhelming powers of gods and Elder Dragons, the most legendary assassin alive finds himself tossed around like a wave upon the raging seas. Lashes in the darkness. Dangerous foes trying to settle old scores. Bloodthirsty sea creatures. Nightmares of diabolical shadow dragons. Powers of the highest planes. Will Shade at last reach his marks, the Slavelords of the Black Ring, or shall the sheer horrors and trials of the conquest be his undoing? Can Shade ever hope to overcome such godlike forces or is he just a worm wriggling in the dirt of his own mortality?
That Ficks and Duque understand their created creatures is obvious: in this tome the atmosphere is consistently dark and harrowing, and yet because of the way they have written the plight of Shade we are always seeing the possible light that he see. Very fine quality writing in this third volume. For lovers of fantasy this book will satisfy. The names are strange and take brain adjustment but the story and action plunge forward with speed and meaning, making this volume especially fine as an escapism journey! Grady Harp, April 16