THE BALANCE BETWEEN LAW AND CHAOS has long been maintained by the rulers of Béarn, but the death of the current king has enabled the elves to magically substitute one of their own on the throne. And, under the leadership of Dh'arlo'mé, the dark elves are preparing to claim their long-sought vengeance on mankind.
But when the small party which set out to find and bring back the last possible heir to the throne returns to Béarn, Dh'arlo'mé realizes that even magic and murder combined will not be enough to overturn the balance. Now his solution must hinge on Béarn's burden and treasure: the Staffs of Law and Chaos. Within these plain-pieces of wood dwell the essences of Law and Chaos, each eternally seeking its Champion to destroy the other.
Lured into one Staff's power, Dh'arlo'mé seeks to seduce the mortals into championing the other. And with all the worlds teetering on the brink of doom, it falls to Colbey Calistinsson - son of the god Thor and the greatest of Renshai warriors - to select that Champion. If he chooses wrongly, all life will come to an end. Yet even success will come at a high price. For the only way to insure that this danger can never arise again, is for both Champions and Staffs to be totally annihilated.
In this second volume (after Beyond Ragnarok) of her Renshai Chronicles, set some 300 years after her Renshai Trilogy, bestselling fantasy author Reichert takes readers deeper into the saga of Colbey Calistinsson and his determination to restore the balance between Law and Chaos. The ambitious dark elf Dh'arlo'me and his supporters have managed to substitute one of their own as King of Bearn, but the subterfuge is revealed when a loyal band of adventurers returns safely with Griff (rescued from an elven dungeon in Beyond Ragnarok), the last heir to the Bearnian throne. Dh'arlo'me also holds the powerful Staves of Law and Chaos, the heart of Bearnian succession and power. Retaining the Staff of Law, he offers a dangerous challenge: Colbey must find a warrior to wield the Staff of Chaos and face Dh'arlo'me in single combat for ultimate control over the fate of the world. The last half of this heavily plot-driven novel takes a strangely misogynist turn, as a plague of sterility temporarily reduces even the mighty Renshai swordswoman Kevral to the status of royal brood mare. An excess of melodrama and too many convenient plot twists make this second novel an uneven and unsatisfying middle piece to Reichert's latest trilogy.