Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Review: The Heir of Night

The Heir of Night
The Wall of Night, Book One

Helen Lowe
Eos, 2010

"If Night falls, all fall."

This book is a compelling beginning to an exciting new series.  Lowe has created a richly realized world of great depth, and peoples it with interesting characters.  Her tale begins in a mountain keep in a harsh land where the Earl of Night, of one the Nine Derai Houses, keeps the unending vigil against the Darkswarm.  This horde of warriors, necromancers and terrible demons has been the Derai’s foes “across worlds and time,” yet a recent lull in the conflict has allowed some of the Derai to settle into complacency.  Additionally, the Nine Houses are split by past treachery, which has also split the warrior line from the priestly line – and anyone who shows the least bit of the “old powers” is exiled to the Temple.

However, now the Darkswarm have returned, and swords alone are not enough against them.  The Darkswarm are after Malian, Heir of Night, the Earl’s daughter.  She discovers she is a child of prophecy and a wielder of the old powers.  With the help of a young novice from the Temple, Kalan, she survives the first terrible assault of the Darkswarm, but she quickly learns that there are traitors among her people and that the rift between warrior and priest demands that she be sent away for her magical gifts.

The tale is fast paced and exciting, even as it weaves in the complex culture and family alliances, the vast legendary history of the Derai, and tantalizing glimpses of the other peoples which live on the planet Haarth.  Malian and Kalan must find a way to learn how to use their powers, stay out of the hands of the Darkswarm, understand the great legendary forces that are awakening around them – and perhaps find a way to unite their world.

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