The sequel to Maledicte (2007) is another gripping, blood-soaked drama set in a decaying royal court haunted by what remains of the gods.
Prince Ivor of Itarus has had the Antyrian King Aris assassinated, a bit too early to suit Janus, the king’s bastard nephew, who has always intended to seize the throne—just not yet. Unfortunately, his wife Psyke believes Janus is culpable for the king’s death; however, her apparent descent into madness (actually, she’s become possessed by Haith, god of death and victory) gives her little credibility. Meanwhile, Aris’s nominal heir, the mentally limited Prince Adiran, appears to be gaining in intelligence, suggesting that he may also be possessed, but by Black-Winged Ani, fickle goddess of love and vengeance. Janus must employ the most ruthless of methods to protect his beloved country of Antyre from invasion by Itarus, civil unrest and the deadly schemes of the re-emergent gods, while guarding his own back from assassins, unreliable allies and treacherous courtiers. Robins deftly paints a unique and involving world peopled by complexly layered characters. Despite his many nefarious deeds and sheer bloody-minded opportunism, protagonist Janus retains an unshakeable core of integrity, and, as such, also keeps the reader’s sympathy.
Recommended for those with an unflinching taste for the raw underside of court intrigue.