Saturday, October 16, 2010

Review: The Grave Thief, by Tom Lloyd

The Grave Thief, by Tom Lloyd
Format: Paperback, 490 pages
Publisher: Pyr, ©2009
ISBN: 978-1-59102-780-5
Series: The Twilight Reign - Book 3
Copy: out of pocket


Scree has been wiped from the face of the Land in a brutal demonstration of intent. While those responsible scatter to work on the next step in their plan, the stakes are raised - all the way to the heavens - as the Gods themselves enter the fray. Returning home to a nation divided by fantaicism, Lord Isak is haunted both by the consequences of his actions in Scree and by visions of his own impending death. As the full extent of Azaer's schemes becomes clearer, he realizes prophecy and zealotry must play their part in his battle plans if there is to be any chance of surviving the coming years. As a white-eye, Isak has had to embrace the darker parts of his own soul, but now the savage religious fervor sweeping his nation must also be accepted and turned to purpose, in the name of survival. With the battle lines vague and allegiances uncertain, the time for heartless decisions and ruthless action has come. Two figures oppose Isak and his allies: the greatest warrior in history, who dreams of empire and Godhood, and a newborn baby whose dreams have no limit.

In this third installment to The Twilight Reign series, Lloyd has hit full stride. Each major element of his story crafting has distinctly tightened up.

Previously, the cavalier approach to dialogue and/or character interaction kept the reader at arm's length when reading through more dramatic stretches of story. It did not 'read' consistently with the rest of the tale. The Grave Thief is more adept at drawing the reader into the dramatic, with credibility, than the previous two books were. Otherwise, Lloyd's style remains the same - which is more than adequate.

While there are no new characters of note, the characters within the story each take on a level of gravity, or relevance, not previously possessed. To be sure, principle characters to the story have not diminished in their relevance, but the more peripheral characters have each noticably developed significant depth and relevance to the story on the whole.

Following the collapse of the city of Scree, in The Twilight Herald, all contending factions are drawn to the twists of fate in the Circle City. A city of merchants and commerce, it is, largely, devoid of the militant strength to defend itself in the face of the moves and counter moves of the Vukotic family, Lord Styrax of the Menin nation, the shadow - Azaer, King Emin's Brotherhood, the Farlan nation - led by Lord Isak - and the gods themselves.

While The Grave Thief does not answer as many questions as hoped for, it certainly did induce a great deal of anticipation regarding the next book in the series (thankfully, it came out 2 days after completing the read of this one). To say that The Grave Thief ended on a cliff hanger would be an extreme understatement. As a recommendation, I would suggest having book four - The Ragged Man - on hand prior to finishing The Grave Thief.

In summary, Lloyd and his series continue to improve on a good thing with each successive installment.

Highly Recommended


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