Rating: 4.5 of 5
Author: Michael Sullivan
Available: Paperback, Kindle
In order to save her village from the unseen beast that nightly has taken the lives of so many including her brother and mother, a young woman named Thrace sets out to find help. Hearing of two brave and cunning thieves whose reputations have spread throughout the land, she finds herself in danger from the lowlife elements of the larger towns. After saving her life, Hadrian and Royce take on the assignment to save her father and her village. But what they find is something that normal weapons and men cannot kill. And suddenly the once peaceful village is overrun with knights in a kill or be killed Church sanctioned contest that seeks to find the emperor that will unite the land.
Many of the great characters which were so skillfully developed in The Crown Conspiracy are back in Michael Sullivan’s sophomore effort Avempartha. This book is a little different from the first. In Crown, what drove the story for me was the unknown of who were in fact the good guys and the bad guys, who was behind the king’s murder and why, along with the ingenious ways Hadrian and Royce frequently escaped impossible situations. Avempartha, on the other hand, builds suspense around if and how the beast terrorizing the village can be beaten and the mystery regarding a seemingly unreachable ancient and powerful Elven tower that holds the answers to this and many other questions.
Also returning in this book is the ancient and once powerful wizard Esrahaddon who seems at the center of events causing the thieves to wonder if somehow they are all being manipulated in some master plan only known by the wizard. It is clear to both of them, there is a lot more going on than what the wizard is telling them. The question is, what is he hiding and why?
Having read the next book in the series, Nyphron Rising, the world building and background elements introduced during this book take on adding flavor and meaning which is why I’m rating it 4.5 versus a 4. One should note, that both Crown and Avempartha can be read on their own each being complete offerings with very satisfactory conclusions. Together, however, along with Nyphron Rising, one immediately sees a rich tapestry being woven across the series which continues to build the suspense and intrigue of what is to come. This is a series not to be missed.