In the second installment of his Kingdom of Graves fantasy trilogy, Myrick (The Ten, 2012, etc.) delivers high adventure, back-alley espionage and a little bit of romance.
Jorophe Horne and his companions have two purposes in life: Serve the king and preserve the peace he established. As a member of the elite fighting squad called the Ten, Jorophe previously killed demons and defeated the Dar Kharji people in epic battles of good and evil. But his work is far from over when the kingdom’s true enemy, the Blooded, arises in the north, led by the mysterious, power-hungry Prince Leoben. The warlord dispatches his army into the kingdom and meets little resistance. Few know how to defeat his legions of woelfin beasts and shidh slave warriors, and few realize Leoben’s true goals. The Blooded are aided by superhuman assassins called the Mortuus, who infiltrate the capital and deliver a crippling blow to the kingdom. Jorophe and company set out in search of a secret weapon that might bring down the invading forces, while the kingdom’s Lord Prosper commands his army of “shadows” to seek a new alliance with an ancient people. Meanwhile, Leoben’s minions terrorize the countryside, slaughtering children and enslaving women as the Kingdom of Graves teeters on the brink of defeat and complete annihilation. The novel continues where the first book left off and maintains its predecessor’s high-quality storytelling. Chapters are well-planned and -executed, providing glimpses of back story that creatively move the action forward and heighten the tension—not an easy task in an adventure tale. Myrick expands the landscape of the first book, adding an underground city ruled by a mournful monarch, a lone cottage guarded by a blind old man and snow-covered plains that frame the novel’s climactically bloody conclusion. Overall, the novel successfully presents a complex world through artfully visual scenes and multiple perspectives, with enough twists and turns to dazzle fantasy fanatics.
Highly recommended for genre buffs and newbies alike, this adventure carries readers through a land of magic, laughter and tears.