|When i first read "Lord of the Isles", first book
in this series, i was convinced that Drake had decided to see if he could
out-Jordan Robert Jordan.
And there are some similarities.
But Drake has a more mordant approach and wit than Jordan, and isn't afraid
to have a little fun with the conventions of the quest-fantasy genre... and
As before, he takes his core group of adventurers -- Garric, Cashel, Ilna,
Sharina, Tenoctris and company -- and sends them by ones and twos on separate
quests of hair-raising difficulty and (in many cases) grusomeness. But all
of them (even the grim and apparently humorless Ilna) find occasional causes
for humor, gallows-style or otherwise, and for moments of beauty and happiness
among the violence and dangers.
Of the bunch, i'd say that Ilna -- who's had the hardest life of the adventurers
so far -- ends up the best off in terms of Good Stuff accumulated in her
The various quests -- Cashel's to find the sorcerously-abducted Sharina,
Ilna's to find a way home after being marooned with companions, Garric and
Tenoctris's to lay to rest a magical menace to the Kingdom if the Isles --
all SEEM unrelated, and have a habit of suddenly turning into something other
than we thought they were, but looks can be deceiving in this sort of fiction,
and the grand finale when Everything (almost) Is Revealed is quite satisfactory.
I want to make it clear that following is a High Compliment from me, reading
this story was in many ways like playing one of the best-constructed of the
old text-only computer games; everything dovetails nicely, and an
apparently-unimportant action taken or not taken on one quest may have a
huge effect on all of the other players' efforts, and one important clue
missed anywhere could mean ultimate and horrible failure.