I’ll be honest – I nearly didn’t write this review. In fact, I nearly didn’t finish the book. If it hadn’t been for Himself promising me that – yes – the constant switching from character to character and place to place eased up a tad by a third into the book, so that I could catch my breath and work out exactly who was doing what to whom – it would have gone flying across the room… If ever a book cried out for a Cast of Characters list – this is it.
Loyalty costs money. Betrayal, on the other hand, is free. When the Emperor is taken hostage, the Red Knight and his men find their services in high demand – and themselves surrounded by enemies. The country is in revolt, the capital city is besieged and any victory will be hard won. But the Red Knight has a plan. That is the blurb. Just be prepared for there to be a lot of other plotlines nesting in and around this particular one that is all but buried for the first third of the book.
Whatever you do, don’t pick up The Fell Sword if you haven’t first read The Red Knight. There were times when I was still floundering, and I knew many of the main characters and their backstory. However, the other reason why I stuck with The Fell Sword is that I loved The Red Knight – read my review here. While the same restless jumping from character to character went on, most of the action centred on the siege, so my brain wasn’t struggling quite so much to work out what was going on. Whereas Cameron has widened out the focus of this novel to encompass much more than the mercenary band that were the stars of the first book – and who were still the folks I wanted to follow in the sequel.
However, as ever, Himself was right – once the action started kicking off, this book was unputdownable. Some authors write medieval fantasy battles as well as Cameron, perhaps – but I’ve never read anyone who does it better. His accomplished characterisation and superb knowledge of all sorts of details give his story a gritty reality. And if A Song of Ice and Fire has you drooling with pleasure and your taste runs to other epic fantasy series, then this latest offering in The Traitor Son Cycle will probably tick all your boxes. There are some really interesting story twists and Cameron brings many of his plotlines – including the main one – to a completely satisfactory ending. It is a testament to his skill that I stayed with it and finally got fully immersed in the world, again.