Unfortunately I haven’t got to this review until several months after reading the book – forgive my greater than usual inaccuracy.
Another solid effort from this enjoyable author – heroic fantasy pure and simple without most of the annoying slips of craft in most of this overpopulated genre. Again he gives us admirable heroes that aren’t merely cliché, or if they are they’re lifted to a point of archetype: we know why we liked these type of characters in the first place. I was disappointed that he didn’t just leave this as a ‘minor’ rescue of a politically trivial character – would have been a nice subversion of the idea that only royalty’s lives are important (which seems to be something his virtuous heroes constantly challenge). However he couldn’t resist tying it in to another era-shattering overplot. As with some of Orson Scott Card’s excesses, if you try to make everyone cataclysmically pivotal, you’ve lost the whole idea of a pivot – a single point on which everything turns.
But this is a relatively small gripe about a book that is generally positive in my vague recollections. I read this story in an omnibus of three, and I’ll look forward to savouring the other two in the next year or two (I don’t want to glut myself and reduce the pleasure).