Wednesday, 3 November 1999

Paul Kearney: The Heretic Kings (1996)

Edition: Gollancz, 1996
Review number: 380

In the second of Kearney's series, The Kingdoms of God, the background and characters have been established. The book develops the plot with few surprises within the main situations that have been set up, following the lives of the characters as they react to the new surroundings in which they find themselves as the result of the fall of the holy city of Aekir. In other words, The Heretic Kings performs the traditional function of the second novel in a fantasy series.

The most interesting parts of the novel get most space: the adventures of Hawkwood, Bardolin and Lord Murad on the Western Continent, not as empty as they had expected; the military career of Corfe on the eastern edge of the Ramusian kingdoms. The seed of great events to come is sown in the discoveries made by monks in under the main Inceptine fortress, of knowledge suppressed by the church for centuries, knowledge which could wreck the foundations of the religion of the West. No loose ends from the first novel are tied up; the read must continue if they have any desire to know where things are leading. The Heretic Kings could stand as a paradigm of (good) mid-series fantasy writing.

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