This is the first book of the Axis Trilogy (followed by Enchanter and StarMan).
The story takes place in Achar, a land ruled by the Seneshal, a powerful religious organisation teaching the Way of the Plough and the fear of the god Artor. For centuries, the Seneshal has also been teaching that two other races living in Achar, the Icarii and the Avar, are evil magical creatures. They are called the Forbidden.
Our hero, Axis, is the BattleAxe, the chief commander of the Axe-Wielders, the army of the Seneshal. He's also the illegimate son of the Princess Rivkah, King Priam's late sister, and his half-brother Borneheld is the Duke of Ichtar and heir to the throne. A strong enmity lies between the both of them, as Borneheld has always been jealous of Axis's achievements and success with women, and hated him bitterly because of the shame Axis's birth is causing him.
With Ice Creatures appearing at the border, a sign that the evil Gorgrael is stirring, the Acharites are preparing for war. But when Axis is asked to escort Faraday, the beautiful young noblewoman bethroted against her will to Borneheld, to the stronghold of Gorkenfort where his brother lives, they can't help falling in love with each other.
However, when stopping at the Keep in the Silent Woman Woods to seek help and answers, Axis reads the Prophecy of the Destroyer: to survive this war, the Acharites have to unite with the people they call the Forbidden, and Faraday has to wed Borneheld to prevent him from killing Axis out of sheer jealousy, as he is the only person who can save the world from Gorgrael. The time has come for them to bring their beliefs into question.
The reason why I didn't give this book five stars is that I found Gorgrael and his minions a bit grotesque at times, and were it not for the strong and extremely loveable (or loathable) characters such as the Sentinels, or Belial and Azhure, as well as for the enchanting descriptions of the beautiful relationship the Avar and Icarii have with Nature, maybe I wouldn't have liked this series. But even though the pace of the book can be irregular, the battles scenes are most suspenseful too. In the end I liked BattleAxe (or The Wayfarer Redemption as it's called in the US) a lot, and I admit I can't wait to read the next book, so it mustn't be that bad, must it?
The review of this Book prepared by crooty
She takes us to the realm of the Acharites, who are religiously devoted to their god Artor and loyal to his the powerful seneschal and their god's intermediaies. The Archarites find their country attack by the evil Ice Lord Gorgrael and his terrifying army of flesh-eating monsters called skraelings.The only hope they have is in ancient prophecy of a savior called Starman who must unite the archarites with the people who they called the forbidden which include: bird-people called Icarii and nature loving race called Avar.This novel is filled with scenes of awesome beauty of this world, brutal realistic battle scenes and powerful magic. Douglass's skills in the world-building department are shown on ever page and her characters comes alive like the heroic leader of the Axe-Wielders, Axis who finds out how he fits into the prophecy on saving his people as he unraveles the mysteries concerning his birth. Faraday-the young woman who captures Axis's heart as she learns on her role in the prophecy and how she must marry Axis's worst enemy, his arrogant and cruel half brother, Lord Borneheld. Stardrifter, Axis's Iscarii sorcerer father who must unite his people and end centuries of distrust in the hopes of stoping Gorgrael.Wayferer Redemption also has themes of on how religious intolerance can create falsehoods that destroy a nation. Douglass's battle scenes are bloody and terrifying in the intensity as you watch as the bloodthirsty skraelings lay siege upon city of Gorkenfort.
The review of this Book prepared by Rodney Powell
Tor, Mar 2001, 24.95, 448 pp.
Fearing the return of Gorgrael and his icy minions that feed on human flesh, Duke Borneheld leads the Kingdom of Anchar's army into battle. At the same the King sends Borneheld's half-brother Axis to find some texts that might tell how to defeat the powerful Ice Lord. Borneheld's fiancee, Faraday accompanies Axis on his quest. On their trek to find the ancient tomes, Faraday and Axis fall in love. Meanwhile she begins to learn more of the truth about her people after years of believing lies. She knows her love for Axis is forbidden and that the truth about her people is also taboo. Either event means certain death.
Gorgrael realizes that Axis is the bigger threat so sends his troops to kill him. However, Axis discovers a prophecy that if true could save the kingdom. Faraday realizes she is a key player if the prophecy is to occur, but Gorgrael is devious and deadly, and her betrothed may prove likewise too.
THE WAYFARER REDEMPTION: BATTLEAXE is an exciting fantasy epic that is like the beginning of a roller coaster ride. It goes up the incline ever so slow but at the apix, it takes off like the speed of light. The story line is well written and the characters including the Ice Lord seem genuine. Fans of epic fantasy will find Sara Douglass' first tale in her new series (first published in Australia in 1995) to be quite good and will want future tales released rather quickly.
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner