A mystical tribe’s search for their prophesied homeland continues in Cederman’s (The Sacred Oath Chronicles, Book 1: Sway of the Moon, 2012) second novel in her New-Age fantasy series.
In the previous novel, an immortal anthropologist named Caeth Salkar, exiled to the archives of her people, the Viskarae, conducted research into her ancestors’ history and beliefs, including that of her similarly immortal parents, piecing together their story in order to gain more insight into her own. In the second installment of the series, Caeth continues her project, furthering her chronological account of how the Viskarae’s original home was destroyed by the machinations of evil god Sal-nae, causing their god, Ebon-nae, to bestow a prophecy upon the community’s spiritual leader, the Shepherd, to help them find a new land. Viskarae society is divided among various Houses with conflicting agendas, however, and in the first novel, agents of Sal-nae within the community attempted to sabotage the quest. In this installment, the long journey continues, and rather than focusing on the heroes, nearly as much time is spent on some of the villains of the last novel, many of whom either reform or at least realize their leader, Errud, might be steering them wrong. As a feat of fictional anthropological worldbuilding, this is an impressive novel, with a beautifully developed, complex culture. Unfortunately, this sequel suffers from the same bugbears as the original. The narrative often feels interminable, cataloging mundane interpersonal relationships. The characters speak in a stilted, archaic style that contributes to the tedium, sounding more like stuffy archetypes than people. Furthermore, with no synopsis or reminders as to the characters and situations of the first book, this entry is distinctly unwelcoming to newcomers or people who need their memories freshened.
Despite a strong mythology, this sequel falters, spinning its wheels rather than advancing the plot.