Friday, April 14, 2006

The Swordsman's Oath - Juliet E McKenna

The second of the "Tales of Einarinn", The Swordsman's Oath, picks up some two and a half months after the events of The Thief's Gamble. This second book moves its point of view from Livak to Ryshad, the eponymous swordsman, whom Livak had met in the course of her "quest" the previous year. Ryshad has been commanded by his patron, Messire D'Olbriot, to assist Shiv, the mage whom he met the year before, in the schemes of the Archmage Planir. The Council of Wizards and at least some of the lords of Tormalin (known as Princes, but they are not royal since Tormalin is ruled by an Emperor), have decided to co-operate in an attempt to work against whatever the Elietimm have got planned now that winter is past and good sailing weather is enabling them to cross back to the mainland again. Through the manoeuvering of at least one Elietimm enchanter, Ryshad finds himself separated from Livak, Shiv and the others of their party, and taken to the fabled Aldabreshin Archipelago, where the cruelty of the Warlords is known to prevail. Worse still, Ryshad finds himself apparently reliving the life of a long dead Tormalin nobleman via his dreams - and he finds himself facing Elietimm enchantments with his life at stake, since anyone found using or suborning magic in the Archipelago is punished most severely. In the meantime, Livak and the others are trying to establish just what is causing the mysterious dreams from which Ryshad is suffering - and when they do, the past collides dramatically with the present.

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