This book is the sequel to the previously reviewed Defenders of Ulthuan. While both of the books were good, this series was not as enjoyable for me as The Sundering series was.
So, let’s start off with a quick recap of the previous book before moving on to this one. The Dark Elves are assaulting the Eagle Gate (Morathi) and Lothern (Malekith). The elven fleet at Lothern has been sunk. Tyrion is defending the Emerald Gate. Teclis is in bad shape (mostly dead). The Everqueen has been stabbed by a nasty dagger (dying?).
For those not wanting the story completely laid out to them (aka spoiled), there is lots and lots of fighting in this book and Caelir gets a chance to redeem himself. For those interested in seeing how all of this plays out, read on…
So, the book starts off, and the Everqueen dies. But, then she’s not dead. It was quite confusing. Long story short: she’s not dead. Caelir and Eldain (the brothers) are both ejected from Avelorn and return home to Ellyr Charoi (in Ellyrion). After some brotherly brawling, they realize that they need to pull it together and try to help defend their land.
At the Eagle Gate, things are going poorly. The new commander sits in his tower all day, instead of leading the men on the walls. Some of the defenders decide that it would be a good thing to get rid of him, and hatch a plan. Eventually, the commander decides to join the warriors on the walls. It is a good morale boost to the troops, but he is costing them lives. The conspirators continue with the plan, killing the commander. Unfortunately, this was the wrong choice, as the garrison breaks. Some of them manage to get away to warn the Ellyrions, but most of the garrison is slaughtered.
Teclis realizes that things are going bad, and sends his mages out to aid in the defense of the land, while he stays home, trying to recover.
In Lothern, things aren’t much better. Despite Tyrion being accompanied by Finubar (the Phoenix King), Korhil (captain of the White Lions), Caradryan (captain of the Phoenix Guard), and Belenaar (a mage from old versions of the High Elf army book) most of the High Elf big names, the High Elves yield the Emerald Gate to the Dark Elves. I guess that they don’t yield is so much, as Malekith uses some fancy creation magic (apparently, the super-powerful magic) to unmake the gate. Malekith causes big problems with his dragon and his magic. He ends up frying Belanaar (but I think that he survives due to Teclis’s response when he sees what book Belanaar read from. I vaguely recall that back when he had a Warhammer entry, he had a rebirth ability with that book). Also, Eltharion decides that he might as well show up and has a quick skirmish with Malekith that leaves both of their mounts wounded.
Meanwhile, the Eagle Gate stragglers have made Ellyrion aware of the army marching on them. The brothers gather up the Great Herd (a massive herd of wild horses that roam Ellyrion) and bring them to Tor Elyr (the capital of Ellyrion) to provide some much needed horses. The army marches out to meet the Dark Elves in the field. Lots of people on both sides die. Things look really bad for the High Elves, but they are assisted by the Everqueen and Avelorn’s army showing up by a nifty teleportation ability. When Morathi sees this, she gets pretty excited and flies toward the Isle of the Dead.
The brothers and their woman (Eldain’s wife, who is Caelir’s ex) fly off on the backs of eagles to follow Morathi. Well, Morathi succeeds in unraveling the vortex, by killing one of the mages that helped to create it. When this happens, there are massive earthquakes across the land, sinking more of Ulthuan into the sea. I guess that all of the effects are not bad, because the magic flowing through Teclis heals him back to normal. He promptly vanishes, showing up in Ellyrion to lay waste to the remaining Dark Elves there. Also, the massive release of magic wakes the dragons that Imrik has been trying to rouse. The dragons head on over to Lothern to provide some relief.
Meanwhile, in the vortex, the trio catches up to Morathi and Caledor (the mage who set up the vortex) is there also. Things don’t end all that well, as Caelir is stabbed by Morathi. Eventually, Caledor shows Morathi that he is a bigger deal than she is by tossing her aside, out of the vortex. Then, we find out that it is extremely fortunate that the brothers’ lady is a mage and a Silverfawn, because Morathi just happened to kill her great grandpa (or relative). She takes his place (and Caelir goes with her) to stabilize the vortex.
Eldain returns home, having pretty much nothing to live for now. There are many pages about this sort of thing, but eventually, the Phoenix Guard show up and take him to the Temple of Asuryan where he joins their ranks.
And that ends the book, and the story of these Sons of Ellyrion. As I mentioned before, the book was interesting and entertaining to read, but I don’t think it was as good as The Sundering trilogy. Maybe it is because it isn’t focusing on the big names of the High Elves? I’m not sure. Regardless, I wasn’t bored when reading it, so it was still well-written.
So, even after all of these Black Library novels that I have read, I am still astounded by the amount of elven life lost in these books, especially with this story occurring in “modern day” Warhammer world. The High Elves are already in decline. After this sort of war, they would be all but destroyed. It’s also pretty sad that it only took a single Black Ark (admittedly with Malekith and a fleet) to wipe out Lothern. So, what would have happened if all of the Black Arks, or even two or three would have showed up? Also, why is it that the Dark Elves seem to think that unraveling the vortex is the best course of action? Do they think that they can control Chaos once it enters the world, or is the goal just to sink Ulthuan?
This concludes all of the Warhammer novels that I own now, so I won’t have another book review until I manage to pick up Sword of Caledor or The Great Betrayal.