The Red Knight's final battle lies ahead . . . but there's a whole war still to fight first.
He began with a small company, fighting the dangerous semi-mythical creatures which threatened villages, nunneries and cities. But as his power - and his forces - grew, so the power of the enemy he stood against became ever more clear. Not the power of men . . . but that of gods, with thousands of mortal allies.
Never has strategy been more important, and this war will end where it started: at Lissen Carak. But to get there means not one battle, but many - to take out the seven armies which stand against them and force Ash, the huge black dragon, to finally take to the field himself . . .
The fifth and final installment of Cameron's Traitor Son cycle (after The Plague of Swords) is a thorough, dense, and occasionally off-putting ending to a complex secondary-world historical fantasy. Queen Desiderata has returned to the city of Harndon (which is introduced here with the incredibly unfortunate analogy of looking "like a woman beaten by a drunken spouse") and, with her allies, is working to heal the city of the plague and war-related ravages. Gabriel, the Red Knight, is attempting to lead his allies against Ash, the otherworldly Satanic being who sees humans as pests. The majority of the book's 600-plus pages are devoted to the final set of battles, and there's a depth to the level of research that informs these scenes, making them engrossing and detailed enough to avoid much repetition. The greater themes ties to Christian and Arthurian mythology, notions of story cycles repeating generally work with the story instead of getting in the way of it. There are occasional hiccups, but Cameron mostly uses straightforward prose and chapters told from the points of view of dozens of characters to convey his tale. Series fans will be satisfied.
Last of a great series
After four books of detailed character development I can almost feel the emotions of the characters. Every loss, win and nostalgic scene seems to make me pause and savour the moment (thus causing me to take about twice as long as I should to read it)
Thanks Christian Cameron for writing my favourite book series and I hope to see Alba come back some day :)