Corinne, Dariel and Mena Akaran fight a war on three fronts to save their homeland, the Empire of Acacia. Corinne Akaran, the Queen of the Acacian Empire, returns in David Anthony Durham's third and final Acacia book to protect her homeland from internal and external threats. She and her noble siblings, Dariel and Mena, make common cause to expel the Auldek, an invading race of anthropomorphic beasts, and defend Acacia from a band of evil sorcerers known as the Santoth.
At the end of Book 2, Corinne Akaran used the powers bestowed upon her by the magical grimoire, the Song of Elenet, to resurrect her deceased brother Aliver. She places Aliver under a mind control spell, using his sterling reputation throughout the Acacian Empire to rally troops to her cause. At first, she plans to go to war against the invading Auldek army, but her plans are derailed when the evil Santoth sorcerers emerge to take revenge on the Acacians for imprisoning them in the desert for a thousand years.
Beset by the rampaging Santoth, Corinne sends her sister, the Warrior-Princess Mena, to the northern city of Mein Tahalian. Mena and her dragon, Elya, fortify the abandoned city to make a last ditch stand against the invading Auldek. The Auldek prove a difficult race to kill. For years, they have been harvesting souls from child slaves and incorporating those souls into their own bodies. This process has made them nearly invincible, but Mena and her forces manage to hold them at bay.
Across the western sea known as the Grey Slopes, Dariel Akaran explores a mysterious land known as Ushen Brae. Ushen Brae was once the home of the Auldek, but the Auldek abandoned their home to invade Acacia. When the Auldek marched from Ushen Brae, they left behind a civilization of child slaves cultivated for centuries through illicit trade with the Acacian Empire. These child slaves are biologically Acacian, but they have had their appearances surgically modified by their captors. The child slaves who escaped the bonds of captivity placed on them by the Auldek have formed a shadow government called "The People." Dariel Akaran learns the history of The People and becomes their de facto leader and messiah. He uses the lessons of leadership he learned as a child of Acacia to bond the warring tribes of former slaves together, forming a new society in Ushen Brae.
With the threat of civil war in Ushen Brae negated and the invading Auldek army beaten down, Corinne and Aliver Akaran turn their attention to the evil Santoth sorcerers. Using the power of the Song of Elenet, Corinne summons an ancient Krakken-like beast from the depths of the Grey Slopes. The beast destroys the Santoth sorcerers, but Corinne is engulfed as well.
Best part of story, including ending:
The Sacred Band pulls together all the loose plot threads from the previous two Acacia novels and delivers a satisfying ending.
Best scene in story:
Mena Akaran battles the Auldek army back atop her dragon Elya in a climactic fight scene outside Mein Tahalien.
Opinion about the main character:
The morally complex protagonist, Corinne Akaran, saves her empire from the threat of the Santoth, but is forced to sacrifice herself as well. She gets her redemption, but also has to pay a steep price.