Bantam, Feb 2001, 14.95, 545 pp.
Nar Emperor Biago vows he wants peace, but all rational thinking person knows the monarch's reputation as a brutal lunatic and nobody believes one word of it. Rather than wait for the expected Biago invasion, one of his governors Elrad of Aramoor joins forces with neighboring King Gayle of Talistan intending to throw Biago off the throne.
Although he seeks peace, Biago remains a Machiavellian strategist tossing a “Hail Mary” pass to save his position and his nation. He persuades Elrad's "son", teenager Alazrian, to go on a quest to find the legendary outlawed SAINTS OF THE SWORD so that the sect can locate the exiled ruler of Aramoor and the Triin in a united battle to save Nar from the invaders. The odds of success are decimally close to zero, as each step appears impossible to achieve.
The third and final novel in John Marco's “Tyrant and Kings” trilogy is fantasy at its sword and magical best. The story line is fast-paced and filled with intrigue due to the machinations of the leaders who make republicans and democrats look like elementary school children (then again, many politicos do that quite nicely on their own). Alazrian makes this novel work as he brings youthful innocence and compassion to a realm led by treachery and cynicism. Revenge still remains a key theme as it did in the previous tales. Bottom line is that this entire series (see THE JACKAL OF NAR and THE GRAND DEIGN) is some of the best the genre has offered over the past few years.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner