Thursday, June 01, 2006

Review: _Queen of Demons_ by David Drake

Readers look for something different in the large subgenre of Epic Fantasy. There are many books to choose from in an array of authors. David Drake is an author with military expertise that he uses in many of his books to make them more realistic. His current Fantasy series is “Lord of the Isles.” Queen of Demons is the second book in the series. The book is an entertaining, adventurous read due to its setting, characters and plot.

Mr. Drake sets his series in a world made up of many different islands, large and small. The islands are ruled by separate rulers and have different cultures on them. In the past, the islands were united by one ruler but it sundered after a magic cataclysm a thousand years before the present. Using elements of Sumerian mythology, the author provides an interesting world in political and magical conflict. There are vivid descriptions of the setting that brings the world to life. Mr. Drake’s setting gives the characters a place in this world they need to find their way through during their difficulties.

The book revolves around four main characters. They are from the sheep herding island of Haft. Garric has the job of becoming the next King of the Isles thrust on him by an ancestor king who resides in his mind. He is unsure of himself and feels unqualified for the job. Cashel is Garric’s best friend, a large man with a strong magic talent. He does not believe in his abilities. Cashel’s sister, Ilna, has the powerful magic of weaving and seeing patterns. She struggles under a powerful feeling of guilt over things she has done. Sharina is Garric’s sister who endeavors to find herself. These four young people have magical help and advice from the ancient sorceress Tenoctris. Other peripheral characters help them, hinder them and advance the story.

In the end, the plot holds reader’s attention through a long book. Garric and some of his companions leave for the island where the current king lives while Ilna stays behind to make restitution for past crimes. They are unaware of the queen’s schemes against them. Eventually, they are split up the the different sup-plots, some traveling in different worlds. They must rejoin reach other in their quest to save the world from the queen and a beastly god. Mr. Drake keeps the story going with descriptions of interesting magics and strange worlds.

Queen of Demons by David Drake is an entertaining book of the “Lord of the Isles” series. Setting, characters and plot weave together for an interesting Epic Fantasy with adventure and intrigue. Mr. Drake creates a detailed story that keeps readers hooked until the end.

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