cover image An Ill Fate Marshalling

An Ill Fate Marshalling

Glen Cook. Night Shade (, $14.99 trade paper (376p) ISBN 978-1-59780-320-5

This character-driven epic fantasy novel from 1988 has not aged well. Cook reintroduces the womanizing and quick-tempered Bragi Ragnarson, soon after his ascension to the throne of Kavelin (as described in Reap the East Wind, republished in October). While all appears calm after the recent victory against the Dread Empire, factions within the kingdom are already plotting to replace Bragi with someone more malleable, while the new king begins to feel trapped by his new responsibilities. When the exiled princess Mist approaches him asking for aid to retake her kingdom, Bragi recklessly agrees, throwing his army into yet another war, leaving his own throne unprotected, and ostracizing his most powerful ally, the wizard Varthlokkur. While the repetition of major events from the first installment is helpful for new readers, the heavily abbreviated fight scenes, dull and laconic prose, and haphazard plot are uninspiring. (Dec.)