Ace, Aug 2002, 24.95, 512 pp.
Before dying the Caledon queen informs her son, the soon to be anointed king Rodrigo, that for him to keep the power of THE STILL to “read” still water, he must remain a virgin and never prevaricate. However, before Roddy becomes the monarch, his Uncle Margenthar declares himself regent, as the teen is too young to be king.
Now Roddy decides it is time for him to be the King, but Margenthar refuses to give up the regency. Roddy successfully takes control of of the government while rallying his people as King Hriskil's Norlanders invade Caledon. The war is nasty and Roddy overcomes his advisors' treating him like a dumb adolescent with the help of his buddy Rustin. He becomes an adept military leader but he loses his most important skill, reading the wisdom of still water as he has wasted the Still. If he fails to regain his ability, the Norlanders will conquer Caledon.
THE KING, the Sequel to THE STILL is an engaging young adult fantasy tale that is easier to follow if you recently read the first novel. The story line is exciting though the continual battles become tedious after a while except for the more military minded reader. Roddy has matured from hedonistic snot into caring leader who proves his mettle though adults think he is a dumb teen. That angle will hook young readers who will root for the youth to surpass his elders. David Feintuch's work combines epic fantasy with a coming of age hero struggling with doing the right thing.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner