Tor, Aug 2009, $25.95
In Honce, after beheading the evil Ancient Badden, Bransen Garibond and his five cohorts bring the dead head to Dame Gwydre of Vanguard as proof they did the deed. Bransen hopes the aristocrat lets him go home as all he wants is to spend time with his wife in Pryd Town.
However, instead of trekking home, Bransen is accused of assassinating King Delval and other seditious acts against the state. Although the charges are false and those who bring them smirk as they are aware of that, he is offered a choice between jail and another deadly quest. Outraged over the unfairness of being punished for the success of bringing the evil one’s head and caught between fighting blocs, a volunteered Bransen, accompanied by scout Jameston Sequin begins another undesired mission with the added incentive of proving his innocence.
The sequel to THE ANCIENT is an entertaining fantasy as Bransen is once again forced on a quest he not only does not want to do, but is not his issue except the powers make it his. Thus he is not just a reluctant hero; he is an angry antihero. His escapades and that of his cronies are typical of the quest subgenre and his adventures fail to nudge the overarching theme forward; still readers who enjoy a fine quest fantasy will want to join Bransen and his teammates on their deadly mission.