Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Assassin's Edge - Juliet E McKenna

Warning: Don't read this review if you don't want spoilers for the preceding four books in the series ! I've done my best to avoid spoiling the preceding books in the reviews so far, but if this review is to make any sense, I'm going to have to include spoilers to the previous four.

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The Assassin's Edge is the fifth and final book in Juliet E McKenna's series "The Tales of Einarinn".

After Livak has collected her fee from Archmage Planir for bringing a practitioner of Artifice back from the Mountains in The Gambler's Fortune, she meets up with Ryshad in Toremal. He has earned himself a princely sum after saving Messire D'Olbriot's life in an attack carried out against the D'Olbriot Name in The Warrior's Bond. He has also been released from his oath to Messire, as the latter has realised that Ryshad cannot continue to divide his loyalties between his oath to D'Olbriot and his friendship with Temar D'Alsennin. Livak suggests that the two of them move to the recovered colony of Kel Ar'Ayen so they can both be with their friends (Livak's friend Halice having remained there after the events at the end of The Swordsman's Oath). Livak and Ryshad are settling down to life in Kel Ar'Ayen, although Livak is feeling a little bored, there being few gambling prospects on this side of the ocean. Her boredom is quickly banished, however, when it becomes clear that the expected ships from Toremal that are bringing much needed goods and more potential colonists, have been hijacked by pirates. To make a bad situation even worse, the pirates are being led by three Elietimm enchanters. Still smarting from the loss of his son, Eresken, (in The Gambler's Fortune), Ilkehan is determined to regain control of Kel Ar'Ayen's riches, so that his people can move there from the barren rocky islands on which they live. Livak reluctantly volunteers to go up against Ilkehan again, accompanied by Ryshad and Shiv, and Sorgrad and 'Gren, the brothers who assisted her in her quest for Artifice in the Great Forest and the Mountains. They travel to the island of one of Olret, one of Ilkehan's rivals in order to gain his assistance in travelling to Ilkehan's home, with the promise that they will put an end to Ilkehan's raiding and revenge the maiming of Olret's son.

Whilst Livak and the others are away in the Ice Islands, trying to defeat Ilkehan, Halice and Temar lead the Kel Ar'Ayen colonists against the pirates by way of keeping Ilkehan's attention from his own domain. Despite having elemental mages, their own practitioner of Artifice, and a number of mercenaries to do battle with the pirates, Temar and Halice don't have things all their own way and one mage is badly injured and another is killed in the ensuing fight.

This book is an exciting and fitting finish to the "Tales of Einarinn" series; and my favourite book of the five.

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