Eos, Jan 2009, $7.99
Using strategy that makes no military sense, tribal warlord Loethar and his deadly barbaric horde easily conquered Dregon and Voragan while Cremond capitulated without a fight. He now invades the final land in the Denova Set, the Kingdom of Penraven with once again little successful opposition. The flesh eaters easily slice their way to conquest defeating everyone who dares to face them. King Brennus is frustrated and worried, but will soon be dead as Loethar fearing nothing has every member of the renowned ruling family the Valisars killed although the king and queen go willingly so that one member of the royals can escape and insure Loethar fails to have access to their power.
The Champion of the Cohort Gavriel De Vis escorts away from the castle the first born son of the Valisars, young Prince Leo, whose special skills unlike that of his father and forefathers back eight generations has failed to surface. He seeks allies, but few sign up to join his noble but seemingly helpless cause. Not only has his talent remains dormant, but Loethar is too powerful and malevolent to fight against anymore; evil has won as the side of good allowed complacency and egotism to leave them unprepared leading them to defeat.
The first book of the Valisar trilogy occurs in the same world as the Percheron Saga, but is a different age and place. Readers will relish the return to Fiona McIntosh’s fantasy realm as the opening act proves to be a worthy successor. The story line is fast-paced from the onset as the kings wonder how they could fall so fast to the blitzkrieg of Loethar. Leo is a wonderful wannabe hero, but his coming of age has a long way to go (two more novels) while Loethar is a fascinating in a macabre way villain who we meet early on after he has drank blood and looks forward to sharing a drink with King Ormond of Barronel. Ms. McIntosh opens her latest fantasy with a terrific thriller.