The third book in the series started by The Path of Flames, it picks up pretty much where the second book left off, the morning after the battle for Mythgrafen hold besieged by the demons. The stories of different characters will start getting complicated and more complex as the situation escalates.
As with the second book, the third follows several threads of the main story. Many of them will eventually converge by the end.
By the book’s half, it very visible that it’s all going down and that it’s not so much about who might win but about how big mess it’ll be – which helps the pace for a book that’s slightly longer than the previous two.
Just as with book two, I’ll split my review into comments about individual plot threads.
By the end of the second book, Tharok gained some heavy weapons into his arsenal and now is planning the attack on Abythos. He faces some challenges from the Medusa who gains control over some of his shaman and causes some distress about a potential return to the bloody worships of the past.
Another side of his plan is sending Shaya and Nok to Bythos to gain the support of the slaves and start a revolt that would make it harder for the Ascendant Empire to defend the city and allow him to gain control of the portals.
Asho faces challenges early as the Bythians don’t see him as one of his own and has trouble to be given even the chance to speak with them. Gaining them to mine around Mythgrafen for Iskra does not sound that appealing, even if they would be paid and cared for and if their work was still for someone else, more so if the enemy of their faith.
It’s hard to say more about that thread without spoilers, so I’ll not.
Kethe faces some challenges as well, first for her mind. During her stay at Mythgrafen, she was losing faith in Ascendancy and now is at the faith’s core and tasting the full power of the White Gate. She even rises in the ranks after the ritual and eventually takes a very high place (not mentioning for spoilers).
With almost no choice, she eventually leads the Ascendant’s units in Abythos to defend them against Tharok’s hordes – and kicks some butts there.
After dropping Kethe, he stays in Aelethia to delve deeper into the traces of corruption he senses in the very midst of the Ascendant’s chosen. His curiosity is sated and the situation forces him to struggle more against his inner demons. He gets tangled in Iskra’s revenge plans and eventually in the very corruption he seeks to uncover.
Iskra and Tiron
The two diplomats continue working with the Agerastians but after Kethe is forced into a tough decision, a rift forms between them. When Iskra decides to have her revenge, Tiron moves away and has his own arc that eventually leads him to the fight at Abythos.
Meanwhile, Iskra assaults Kyferin castle, an act that is successful but with much loss that forces her to rethink much. Realizing that defeating a whole faith would make the victims into martyrs and her plans impossible, he decides to seek a way to reform ascendancy. Yet, time is growing short and she’s forced to act without a prepared plan. Her strike at the Ascendant has an unexpected result, partially because of Audsley’s efforts.
I’ll go on with the series, most likely soon.