|HarperPrism Books, 704 pages |
|A review by Wayne MacLaurin|
Alliance of Light I
Wars of Light and Shadow: Volume III
As you might infer from the title, Fugitive Prince is part of a much larger work. In fact, its third volume (fourth if you are reading the paperbacks) out of what will be at least seven books. Janny Wurts has mapped out an epic tale that encompasses five main story arcs. Fugitive Prince is the first part of the third arc, Alliance of Light.
Well, that bit of trivia alone means this book is already climbing up my scale of greatness. I love well written, lengthy series. This one is certainly going to be lengthy. But what about the well written part? Well, I've been an avid reader of Janny Wurts since her 1984 novel, Stormwarden and she hasn't disappointed me yet.
Fugitive Prince is the third part of the tale Wars of Light and Shadow. This saga tells the story of two brothers, one gifted with the power of Light, one gifted with the power of Shadow, who have been cursed to hate and destroy each other. Their powers and hatred draw kingdoms into conflict and war. The first two novels introduced us to the characters, the curse -- named for the first book, The Curse of the Mistwraith -- and has gradually built the conflict up. The second book, The Ships of Merior in hard cover or The Ships of Merior and Warhost of Vastmark in paperback concluded in a massive battle that virtually wiped out the forces on both sides without resolving the conflict itself.
But, the story is much more than simple conflict. The two brothers, although cursed to conflict and hatred, are very different. Arithon, Prince of Shadow, would prefer to simply walk away from the conflict and seeks to avoid the hatred that threatens to destroy everything around him. Lysaer, Prince of Light, masks his hatred with righteous fury and casts himself in the mold of the crusading prince, out to right the evil and wrongs attributed to Arithon. And, for good measure, a secretive group of sorcerers and a plotting, manipulative group of sorceresses thrown into the mix heats up the boiling mess of intrigue and conflict.
Fugitive Prince continues the story line and, as the sub-title suggests, is dominated by victories by the Alliance of Light as Lysaer rebuilds his armies while Arithon seeks to avoid the conflict and find a peaceful way to end it. Quite obviously the beginning of this particular arc of the story, the novel adds several more intriguing plot elements to the already complex and well developed story. Janny Wurts does a great job of managing to keep both the two main characters and a lengthy cast of supporting characters fresh and realistic. She also continues to do a wonderful job at contrasting the elements of light and shadow in the characters and the plot elements of the story as it unfolds.
A great read, Fugitive Prince could probably stand as a solo novel but is really meant to be read as a sequel to previous novels.
Wayne MacLaurin is a regular SF Site reviewer. More of his opinions are available on our Book Reviews pages.
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