Flush from their narrow victory over the horrific Vlagh, Longbow and his companions are drawn to a pastoral territory in south Dhrall, confident that they will thwart the next assault by their inhuman foe. But on the border of the Wasteland, the Vlagh is breeding a monstrous new army of venomous bat-bugs and armored spiders. These grotesque legions threaten to overwhelm the allies, who are further shocked by a prophecy delivered by the Dreamers: an invasion by a new, second army. A force of armed acolytes approaches to plunder this unspoiled land in a global holy war. Now farmers and hunters, soldiers and madmen, mortals and gods-all charge to a battle that will decide the fate of the world.
In the bestselling Eddings duo's disappointing second entry in their Dreamers series (after 2003's The Elder Gods), the four gods (one for each point of the compass) face a new menace in the Land of Dhrall. Neither omnipotent nor omniscient, head god Dahlaine, his brother Veltan and their two sisters aren't even particularly bright. The Vlagh, an evil insectoid creature that's trying to take over the world by producing an army of mutated snake people, goes south to carry the fight for domination to Veltan's realm. The dreamers (the younger gods) forecast the coming horde and provide enough information for Dahlaine and his siblings to prepare themselves. Indeed, the gods' preparations for one rather tedious, unexciting battle occupy the bulk of the book. This fantasy comes as a great letdown from the authors of the luminous Belgariad series (Pawn of Prophecy, etc.). No true hero shines forth, and the gods' powerlessness makes them worse than cardboard cutouts. Filled with second- or even third-hand action, the story lacks urgency. The next volume desperately needs to be better in order to save the series.