The first battle against the heathen has been won, but while the Great Names plot and squabble over the spoils, Kellhus patiently extends his influence, drawing more followers to his banner. The sorcerer Achamian and his lover, Esmenet, submit entirely, only to have their faith tested in unimaginable ways. The warrior Cnaiur falls ever deeper into madness. The skin-spies of the Consult watch with growing trepidation. And as the vast host of the Holy War endures its sternest test in the searing wastes of the desert, a name - a title - begins to be whispered amongst the faithful. But who is the Warrior-Prophet: a dangerous heretic, who turns brother against brother? Or the only man who can avert the Second Apocalypse? The Holy War stands on a knife edge. If all is not to be lost the great powers will have to choose between their most desperate desires and their most ingrained prejudice. Between hatred and hope. Between the Warrior-Prophet and the end of the world...
The Holy War fomented by the mysterious prophet Maithanet between "the two great faiths of Inrithism and Fanimry" in The Darkness That Comes Before (2004), the critically acclaimed first book in the epic fantasy trilogy by Canadian author Bakker, explodes in this compelling, if overly long, sequel set in the medieval world of E rwa. Like many a traditional historical chronicle, the book mentions a plethora of people and places only in passing, but the all-too-human tale of love, hatred and justice, centered on the sorcerer Drusas Achamian and the monk Anas rimbor Kellhus (aka "the prince of nothing") and their respective harlot lady friends with hearts of gold, Esmenet and Serw , keeps the pages turning. The final cinematic scene, of a vast landscape filled with enormous armies, nicely sets the stage for book three of this daringly unconventional series in the Tolkien mold.