Tor, Apr 2001, 25.95, 332 pp.
The King's Curse kept Aglirta in a constant state of civil war as barons fought their friends and foes without a central monarch to rein them in. However, the chaos seems over because the “Band of Four” (Hawrdil the warrior, Craer the thief, Sarasper the healer, and Embra the sorceress) combined their talents with that of the magical Dwaerindim Stones to remove the curse and awakens the long time sleeping monarch King Kelgrael.
The initial success of the Band of Four does not mean the restoration of the King. The barons refuse to give up their autonomy to Kelgrael. However, that threat pales when compared to the malevolent beings who plot to bring Kelgrael back under their control with only the Band of Four between them and a repeat of their earlier success of putting the King to sleep.
Ed Greenwood escorts his fans back to the Land of the Band of Four with an exciting fantasy tale. The story line stands alone while adding to the mythos established by the previous novel (see THE KINGLESS LAND). The tale works because of the deep characterizations of the Band of Four and their interrelationships, often amusing and competitive yet supportive when needed. The personalities shine through the entertaining plot so fantasy fans will enjoy THE VACANT THRONE; a realm filled with the unbelievable that it feels like Mr. Greenwood cast a believable spell on his audience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner