Roc, March 2003, 14.95, 448 pp.
In the Kingdom of Avornis, King Mergus took a seventh wife when his concubine gave birth to his son and heir, an action that was illegal since a monarch is only allowed six spouses. When Lanius is still a young child, his father dies and his uncle declares himself the ruler with nobody contesting his right to the throne. When he dies, Lanius is still too young and a regent is appointed to rule until the true heir comes of age.
The regent proves himself incapable of handling military matters and Lanius' mother takes over. The kingdom is under siege by the Chernagors in the North and the Menteshe in the south. The Menteshe worship the Banished One. Navy Commodore Grus is chosen as the king's protector and one of his first acts is exiling the Regent and declaring himself co-king along side Lanius. The youngster realizes that he is only a figurehead as Grus holds all the power, but the two kings, after a long struggle find they must put aside their differences if they hope to vanquish the Banished One.
Dan Chernenko has created a world so believable and different than our own, a place where magic exists and gods roam the planet, that readers will find themselves finishing the book in one sitting.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner