A pillar of black smoke rises from the plains where the ruins of a city lie. Four people watch it. Petros, an old fisherman; Nebios, a boy who is the only eyewitness; Rudolfo, the Gypsy King and Lord of the Ninefold Forest; and Jin Lee Tam, consort of a powerful madman. Each takes up the story in turn and we learn as they do what has happened and what changes it bodes for the Named Lands.Read my entire review of this brilliant book over at SFFaudio.
Through their eyes, Ken Scholes masterfully unfolds layer upon layer of complexity to reveal an epic tale of the struggle not only for power but to serve the Light. This struggle between vengeance, knowledge, mercy, and justice is what drives the main characters. Scholes takes us into a world where Machiavellian politics are constantly intertwined between characters’ motivations. However, because he uses interesting characters to tell his story, it always feels personal and we realize the “epic” quality only as we look back over storyline development. As well, he skillfully manipulates these believable people (and, let us admit it, his readers as well) so that I literally went from worrying about one character being killed to hating him to coming back into sympathy and understanding again by the end of the book. In the end, what we see is that despite epic qualities, the question the book is asking is a simple one. Who was the evil mastermind that destroyed Windwir and why?