Daw, Feb 1 2011, $25.95
On the surface Sacoridia seems like a powerful country ruled by the just benign King Zachary. However, appearances can be deceiving because there is danger from within and without. To the north in the lands not occupied by Sacoridian troops, descendants of Arcosia led by Mornhavon the Black invade as a first step in preparation for their war on Sacoridia. They now call themselves Second Empire.
The D’Yer wall has been breached, enabling the evil denizens from primordial Blackveil Forest to enter Sacoridian. Before the Long War Blackveil was once known as Argenthyne, home to the immortal Eletians who now live in Eletia. Besides kingdom headaches, Zachary and Green Rider messenger Karigan G’ladheon love each other, but know they have no future as he must marry his betrothed Lady Estora out of duty to his county.
Six Eletians want to return to the Blackveil to see their former home. Zachary wants six Sacoridians to accompany them; Karigan is one of the chosen. The Eletians are on the same mission that Second Empire is on; it will be a disaster if their leader Grandmother prevails. Meanwhile the King is poisoned and a conspiracy begins by someone close the throne.
The latest Kariagan epic fantasy (see Green Rider, First Rider's Call, and The High King's Tomb) is a terrific entry loaded with subplots that provide the reader with both the big picture of the world of Kristin Britain and the small scale happenings that impact the larger scope. The key to this grand epic is the movement back and forth between the Second Empire threat, the Eletians, the danger to the Sacoridians in Blackveil and to the king is done smoothly although few of the subplots are completed. With a strong diverse cast (a trademark of Ms. Britain), fans will welcome the return to Sacoridia as the focus is on evil oozing Blackveil.