Sequel to Children of Chaos (2006), a fantasy set on a non-spherical planet—a physical impossibility, as Duncan cheerfully admits.
On Dodec, the gods infuse their adherents with magical powers. Stralg Hragson, a Werist (follower of the war-god Weru) rules the barbarians of bleak, northerly Vigaelia. But Stralg’s masterstroke was to coerce the clairvoyant seers into serving him. Their assistance enabled him to invade and subdue peaceful, tropical Florengia despite the daunting ice-and-mountain barrier between the regions. Now, though, having brought the cult of Weru to Florengia, Stralg finds the tables turned, his conquering armies overwhelmed by Florengian Werist rebels led by Marno Cavotti. When Florengia’s greatest city, Celebre, surrendered to Stralg, he took the four children of Doge Piero as hostages and sent them to Vigaelia—where they have prospered mightily, defeating the Hragson clan in every venue; only Stralg’s sister Saltaja, a sadistic, megalomaniacal devotee of the death goddess Xaran, still threatens Florengia. Three of the hostages, seer Dantio, Werist Orlad and secret Xaran devotee Fabia, decide they must brave the perilous crossing back to their home region in order to prevent Saltaja from rejoining her brother and spreading her poison across Florengia. Even though the fourth hostage, sculptor Benard, decides to stay in Vigaelia, one question looms large: Who will rule Celebre once Piero finally expires?
Unfortunately, Duncan left most of the magic and excitement behind in volume one; this tepid, soporific and well-padded follow-up works hard only at setting up yet more sequels—not a thrilling prospect.