Defenders of Ulthuan

Defenders-Ulthuan-2011I have finished another one of the Black Library books about the High Elves. Unlike the Sundering trilogy, I didn’t really know what to expect from this book.

The book takes place in the ‘modern day’ Warhammer world. Teclis is the High Loremaster of the White Tower and Tyrion is the great war leader.

A quick summary of the book is that the Dark Elves have teamed up with the Chaos Warriors to invade Ulthuan. Many bad things happen to the High Elves. If you get this book, you will probably want to also pick up the Sons of Ellyrion book, because nothing is resolved in this book, and it ends with a massive cliffhanger. For me, the book started out a little slow, but overall was a good read. From this point on, there are likely to be spoilers, so read ahead at your own peril.

The book starts out with a Prince of Ellyrion, Eldain, and his wife (a mage of Saphery). The scene is quickly set that he lost a brother during an assault upon Naggaroth and his wife was previously betrothed to his brother.

It doesn’t take much longer before an elf who has no recollection of the events of his life shows up on the coast of Yvresse (I’m sure that you can guess who this turns out to be). The stranger is found by a mage of Saphery and his daughter. The mage tries to restore his memory, but is unable to do much for him, so they head to the Tower of Hoeth. I think that at this point, he does remember that his name is Caelir, but he doesn’t remember anything about the dagger that he has in his possession, although the mage suggests that it is dark blade. On their way, they briefly get to interact with Eltharion.

In the meantime, Eldain and his wife have been summoned to Saphery by her father. They are accompanied by a female Swordmaster on their journey.

As one might expect, the two groups arrive at the tower close to the same time. Caelir and company arrive slightly before, and meet with Teclis. Teclis is intrigued  by Caelir. The mages of the White Tower start a ritual to help him recover his memory, but things go very badly. Apparently, Morathi and Malekith set a trap for this type of thing. Teclis is wounded very badly, and most of the other mages are killed. The tower is badly damaged and a bunch of daemons and such start pouring into and around the tower. The mages and Swordmasters fend them off, until the protective wards around the tower are able to seal things up again.

Eldain and the two ladies arrive in time to fight off some of the bad guys and see Caelir ride away on one of their horses. This shocks Eldain’s wife (since she thought that her once-betrothed was dead). In the aftermath of the battle, it is decided that they will pursue Caelir, who is headed to the Everqueen. Teclis is in bad shape, but still alive. He sends for Tyrion to come and visit him.

While all of this is going on, the Eagle Gate has its commander assassinated, and the Dark Elves, led by Morathi, have landed on western Ulthuan. An Ellyrion Reaver, with the help of some eagles, warns the defenders. The battle commences, and it is revisited in various stages for the rest of the book.

Caelir joins up with a group of gypsy-like High Elves, who are headed to Avelorn. Eldain and the ladies travel by boat towards Avelorn. They stop at the Gaen Vale where the girls find out that they need to save Caelir to save the Everqueen. They head straight for Avelorn, since nobody wants anything bad to happen to the Everqueen.

While all of this is going on, an assault starts on Lothern. The High Elves seem to have the upper hand, until Malekith shows up on his dragon. Almost the entire High Elf fleet is destroyed, and pushed behind the Emerald Gate. The Dark Elves opt to take the gate by land, rather than sea. Unfortunately, for them, they are greeted by Tyrion.

Caelir ends up making it to Avelorn, setting up the big cliffhanger for the book. He meets the Everqueen, and during their encounter, he recalls some of what he hadn’t before. He remembers that his brother left him to die, that he had been tortured in Naggarond, and carefully prepared for the tasks he has been performing, unwittingly, for the Dark Elves. He ends up plunging his nasty dagger into the chest of the Everqueen… And that is pretty much it. Next book, please!

So, quite the cliffhanger! The two most powerful High Elf mages in really bad shape. I can only assume that the Everqueen manages to live, but I guess that I will have to wait to see. The situation is quite dire for the High Elves, but surely things must turn around, right? Also worth mentioning is that there was a brief section of the book that was covering Imrik trying to rouse some more dragons. Maybe he will succeed and the dragons will come to the aid of the High Elves. Once again, I highly recommend this to anybody interested in the High Elves. People who like the Warhammer world should enjoy it, too.

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