Pocket, Apr 26 2011, $7.99
In 1218 the Dome of the Sun high priest sends two Illuminer tyros to Carden Vale, at the foothills of Duradh Mal. Their mission is a simple religious ritual. Mourning the loss of her sister, Asharre the warrior with runes on her visage protects the two Blessed. However, evil from beneath the ruins of the mountain fortress has awakened.
Kelland the Sun Knight knows his beloved Bitharn the archer freed his inner power. He accompanies the Spider’s mentee Malentir the Thornlord mage of pain as they head to Duradh Mal. However, something goes wrong and Kelland is incarcerated in the Ang’arta dungeon. To rescue her loved one, Bitharn needs the help of the pain mage, Malentir, but that means the treason of liberating him from Cailan’s tightest prison Heaven's Needle. None are aware that after six centuries of dormancy, the Mad God Maor is arising.
The second Ithelas fantasy (see The River Kings' Road) is a super thriller as the key players face ethics issues that challenge their values when they must decide whether the end justifies the means. For instance Bitharn understands she commits treason but the release of darkest magic awakens the aptly named Mad God so she ponders what other choice she has. Loaded with action, fans will relish this thought provoking look at the relativity of good and evil based on what the person’s beliefs, baggage and situation are. With threads still lingering readers should expect a return to the Merciel mythos.