The Light Of Burning Shadows
Pocket, Jul 2009, $26.00
The Calahrian Empire still teeters from the assault of the elf witch Shadow Monarch whose allies include the new even more violent Viceroy of Elfkyna. Their greatest unit against the evil insurgency, the Iron Elves, remains disdained by their people for the tattoo representing their subservience to the Shadow Monarch. The people feel this way in spite of their great victory led by Commander Konowa Swift Dragon preventing the Shadow Monarch from obtaining the Red Star at the Battle of Luuguth Jor (see A DARKNESS FORGED IN FIRE).
Instead of lifting the frost fire curse from his men by using the Red Star, Konowa gives it to the Elfkynal; angering his soldiers who saw brothers in arms die and return as shades or maimed in the battle. Prince Tykkin directs Konowa to retrieve a new Star reported in the Hasshugeb Expanse. Konowa knows the witch will seek the Star too so he needs reinforcements so he sends Iron Elves to recruit those peers who failed to return when the unit was reactivated. He tries to calm down his outraged unit who believe they should be freed first and then defeat the evil while he deems they must defeat the evil first. At the same time the Shadow Monarch sends her servant the Viceroy of Elfkyna to darken the woodlands while a new flame has arisen that eats the shadow from the body until the person expires; death in those cases does not mean returning as a shade.
Although the overarching theme does not move forward, the second Iron Elves high quest fantasy is a great tale as Chris Evans expands the author’s world adding much depth to it. The story line once again focuses on Konowa and his unit who though victorious still hurt mentally and physically from the recent battle and their commander’s decision on the Red Star. Fans will enjoy this fine entry as Konowa seems on the verge of PTSD caused not just by sending men to die knowing they are cursed to become shades, but also having to make difficult decisions, which keep his men in harm’s way.