In a Time of Treason
Tor, Feb 2008, $25.95
As he does periodically, King Ragnal demands his liegemen come to his court to pledge their fealty to him. Among the nobles arriving to vow their dying loyalty to the monarch are Lord Lamoric and his vassal Durand Col. The latter hides his love of his liege’s wife from everyone even the target of his affection although he sees her from afar with longing everyday they are home, which is more frequent than ever as they have no money for travel. Still they must journey to the king’s court or face his wrath at a time when rebellion especially in the north seems imminent.
The pair arrives at the king’s court late to their euphoria as those who came on time reside in Ragnal’s dungeon or in a coffin. The king believes traitors exist among those pledging to him so he is purging them. Col escapes, but finds his enemy the Duke of Yrlac has set him up to die having already begin an incursion into his neighbor’s land that of Lamoric.
More a historical fiction with some underlying fantasy elements, the sequel to IN THE EYE OF HEAVEN is a fabulous thriller because like its predecessor Col makes the man on the run scenario seem genuine. As a knight errant with no prospects and no super powers he is human, which makes the fantasy seem genuine. For instance Col struggles as much from fleas as he does against his enemy. Although the climax is a cliffhanger leaving IN A TIME FOR TREASON without any closure as it ends up setting up the next tale, fans will appreciate David Keck’s fabulous saga.