A Path to Coldness of Heart

Glen Cook. Night Shade (www.nightshadebooks.com), $24.99 (440p) ISBN 978-1-59780-329-8
This long-delayed conclusion to Cook’s Dread Empire epic fantasy saga, begun in 1979, opens in chaos following King Bragi Ragnarson’s ill-fated invasion of Shinsan. The false rumors of Bragi’s death have thrown his kingdom of Kavelin into upheaval, as both would-be heirs to the throne are minors, and some of their supporters see an easy opportunity to seize power. Meanwhile, the wizard Varthlokkur, regretting his hasty decision to refuse Bragi aid, has found another lost soul to assist: the King Without a Throne, Haroun bin Yousif. As Bragi paces within his luxurious prison tower, his captor, Mist, the newly crowned empress of Shinsan, ponders what she can do with him—and when the next battle might be. While the premise is appealing, the tale quickly falters as excessive numbers of extras come out of the woodwork for a last hurrah. Readers familiar with the Dread Empire will appreciate the final chapters, which arrive with a rush of events and information that pull together for a spellbinding conclusion, but a more careful introduction to the villains would assist those new to the series. Agent: The Grayhawk Agency. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/14/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
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