When the legendary Briar King awoke from his slumber, a season of darkness and horror fell upon the Kingdom of Crotheny. Now countless breeds of unspeakable monsters roam the countryside. An epidemic of madness has transformed peaceful villagers from the wildlands into savage, flesh-eating fiends. In Eslen, King William has been murdered, Queen Muriele is stalked by treachery on every side, and their last surviving daughter, Anne, has fled the assassins bent on destroying her family. Close on the heels of the runaway princess, young knight Neil MeqVren, the queen's one trusted ally, is sworn to rescue Anne from her murderous pursuers. Anne herself undertakes a perilous journey toward the sanctuary of her distant paramour's arms, but along the way lie the sinister agents and hidden snares of a sprawling conspiracy that few might hope to evade. At the same time, spies in the service of Praifec Hespero, the powerful Churchman, embark upon a mission to destroy the Briar King in the heart of his domain.
The age of Everon is ending in the elegiac second installment of bestseller Keyes's fresh and imaginative high fantasy saga that began with 2003's The Briar King. Told in a inventive prose often as disturbing as it is beautiful, Keyes's sprawling multiple-viewpoint narrative explores a weird landscape fraught with "ancient evils and fresh curses." Black briars spurt up "like slow fountains" wherever the Briar King walks in the King's Forest. As the Briar King turns villagers into unholy monsters, creatures such as greffyns and manticores once deemed the stuff of myth attack anyone who dares challenge him. In a land on the brink of civil war, assassins have claimed most of Queen Muriel's family except for her gifted youngest daughter, Anne Dare, who escaped death with her servant Austra, and is now struggling to return home to fulfill a prophecy. Other well-drawn characters include Sir Neil MeqVren, the queen's protector, and Leovigild "Leoff" Ackenzal, a talented composer. Those who haven't read The Briar King may have problems at first following the plot, but Keyes's lyricism, pacing and deft handling of eternally important topics-the dance between church and state, man and woman, life and death-make this a thought-provoking entertainment. (Aug. 17) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
October 24, 2005
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.