Saturday, 3 February 2001
Paul Kearney: The Second Empire (2000)
Review number: 739
The fourth of Kearney's Monarchies of God series, The Second Empire is the first which doesn't introduce any new elements. It carries on the themes and plots established in the earlier novels - the attempt to colonise the newly discovered Western continent, the war between religions as the Turk-like Marduks attempt to overrun the kingdom of Torunn, the newly territorial ambitions of the worldly Inceptine order of monks (which becomes the second empire of the title). Even though the title implies a concentration on the Inceptines, it is the Torunnan fight for survival which takes up most of the novel, and which provides most of the excitement.
The Second Empire is definitely a mid-series novel, and relies heavily on a knowledge of the events and characters of its predecessors. As some plot strands begin to resolve, it starts to indicate where the series as a whole will be heading. An excellent continuation of a most interesting series.