Friday, August 16, 2013
Review: King's Envoy
King's Envoy by Cas Peace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Please note: I originally read and reviewed this book in July 2011, then re-read in August, 2013. I am updating the formatting and adding the disclosure that I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Book Info: Genre: Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of epic fantasy
Trigger Warnings: Violence, torture, sexual assault
Animal Abuse: horse is badly hurt
My Synopsis: The world in which Albia exists is a strange and wonderous one – Albia is the fourth realm of five, which, while all being on the same world, have no contact other than through the Veils, a metaphysical force that separates the realms. Only Artesans, those who are able to control metaforce – or life force, as it is also known – through the elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water, are able to pierce the Veils and travel to other realms, although that is not always wise, as some of the other realms are war-like and dangerous.
In Albia, the Artesan gift is in disfavor and decline, because Artesans from the Third Realm, Relkor, and the Fifth Realm, Andaryon, have raided Albia for so long; most Albians believe all Artesans are only out for power and gain. Therefore, when Taran’s father died two years before the start of the story, Taran was stranded at Journeyman level and had no one with whom to train so that he could advance to higher levels of prowess. He decides, in a moment of despair, to try crossing to Andaryon – which has many strong Artesans – to see if he can acquire a teacher there. To say things do not go well is an understatement. Upon his return to Albia, and his recovery, he learns that the Andaryons, who had signed a pact 20 years previously to stop their raiding, have started to raid again; Taran decides that this is his fault, due to what occurred in Andaryon, and he, his apprentice Cal, and Cal’s lover – the healer Rienne – set out for the local garrison to report what he knows to Major Sullyan, who he has heard from a family friend (and village elder), Paulus, he should contact.
When Major Sullyan is sent to Andaryon as an ambassador of Albian’s king, it is decided that Taran will accompany her, along with her captain, Robin, and Bulldog, a retired military man and member of Sullyan’s staff. However, the men are recalled the next day due to an increase in the raiding in Albia, and forced to leave Sullyan alone among the Andaryons. When she disappears, they must go back to try to discover what happened.
My Thoughts: I fear I’ve given too much away, although I’ve tried to be vague and left many things out; however, it is difficult to describe the plot otherwise. Ms. Peace is wonderfully inventive and has created a most unique world. Based upon the glossary, details given about the various realms and other addenda at the end of the book, she’s spent a great deal of time working out all the details to make sure she is able to mesh everything together smoothly. She’s even plotted the geography very carefully – I was much impressed with this, and also with her character development, which was done in stages and worked into the plot to a degree where we learned a great deal about the characters, but the action was hardly slowed down at all. All in all, a most impressive book and I will eagerly look forward to the upcoming completion of the trilogy – King’s Champion scheduled for August 2012 and King’s Artesan scheduled for August 2013. I highly recommend that fans of fantasy adventure books check this one out – it’s a great read and you will not be disappointed.
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