The Wyrmling Horde
Tor, Sep 2008, $25.95
Lord Despair captures the son of the Earth King Fallion Orden on the barbaric world Rugassa the latter ironically made by consolidating realities. The flameweaving wizard has little hope to escape as he adheres to his vow to never accept the "endowments" of others.
Fallion’s lover Rhianna, her foster sister warrior Talon, and the Emir Tuul Ra start a dangerous quest to rescue Fallion from Despair. They have made no pledge to spurn endowments so gladly take what is offered by others. However, Despair has allies too on the planet; agents who know how to torture a person’s soul into begging for death.
The seventh Runelords fantasy follows up directly from the powerful climax of SONS OF THE OAK so it behooves readers to have read at least that tale to know how Fallion fell into the predicament he and the audience finds him in. The scenes are bleak, bloody, and depressing, but well written although there are some counter upbeat moments (not directly involving the heroes who despair failure and obviously not Despair whose optimism is visions of death and destruction). This tale is well written and extremely exciting although progress in terms of the overarching theme moves slower than an Ice Age glacier. Fans of David Farland will appreciate the attempt to rescue Fallion from Despair.