SHADOW GATEBook 2 of 'Crossroads' Trilogy
Read about Book 1 here
ISBN - 978-0-7653-4931-6
FIRST PRINTED - 2008
PAGES - 773 [Paperback]
AUTHOR - Kate Elliott
BEST-SELLERS - King's Dragon, Crown of Stars, Spirit Gate
SYNOPSIS - Marit knows that her life as an eagle-reeve ended when she was murdered by vicious bandits.....and somehow she has been reborn as a Guardian, one of the godlike beings that has personified justice for the people of the Hundred. But now the Guardians are divided in purpose.
Of the nine Guardians, Marit is one of but a few who resist joining with corrupt Guardians: the traitorous immortals who, like all Guardians, can see the innermost thought of mortals, have abandoned the land and instead are using their powers to oppress those they formerly defended.
Marit, along with a small cadre of eagle-reeves and an outlander captain leading a small but fierce force in defence of the land, stands on the razor's edge between life and death. On her shoulders, and on the wings of the horse that carries her aloft above the shadowed lands beneath, rests the future of the Hundred....
EXCERPT - The envoy of Ilu did his best to track the girl on her journeys around the Barrens without hounding her. Sometimes she hunted, or practiced her archery at a target she set up at the base of the hill, where the winds weren't so strong. Sometimes she returned to the hidden valley, with its unseasonable harvest of fruits and nuts and the strange, glittering threads drifting in the air. He kept his eye on her from a distance, because he knew absolutely that to try to force her to accept what she had become would be the ruin of his hopes.
FL Speaks - And with this Book, Marit is back. The one i thought was going to be a permanent character in the first book. Well that didn't happen. But she is back here. And reborn as a confused Guardian.
Meanwhile Joss is the Marshall at Argent Hall where he must gather the reeves for a battle that may happen anytime. Captain Anji tries to get his soldiers married to the Hundred folk so that they may permanently settle down in the city. An envoy of Ilu comes to the temple of the Merciless One and tells the priests that the girl traded for Zubaidit by his brother is actually a Guardian. That girl is Cornflower who used to travel with Shai and the Qin in the previous book. As she learns about the truth of her death, she promises vengeance on those who mistreated her.
Meanwhile Marit infiltrates the army of Lord Radas in hopes of finding out the other corrupt Guardians. There she meets another Guardian, Hari or as he is called, Lord Twilight, who yearns to be free of Lord Radas but has to live under his rules. Marit manages to escape with Cornflower and they both form an alliance with Jointhin who is one of the oldest Guardians to have survived the temptation of corruption. Elsewhere eagles without reeves has started choosing their partners. Nallo, a widow was one of the first and another eagle chose a Qin soldier to be her reeve.
Toskala is attacked by Lord Radas' army and the senior reeves at Clan Hall are all murdered by traitors. That included Volias. Leaderless, Nallo and Qin and rest of the novice reeves send word to the remaining clans and prepare themselves for the battle of Clan Hall. Back in Olossi, Captain Anji has sent two group of scouts, one to where Lord Radas' army stands and one to the Sirnakian Empire in hopes of learning more about them.
Phew. Quite a tale. This might be the best book of the trilogy. Oh wait, book 3 is still to be read. Yet, this trilogy threatens to be the best by Kate Elliott so far. Two new characters are introduced this time as Avisha and Nallo and both, i believe are going to play a major role in the last book. Nallo, more than Avisha, as she is an eagle-reeve. Can't wait for the concluding part. It takes a while to be immersed into the story, but eventually you fall for the plot and writing and hope the end never comes. The only sad part is some of the major characters do not appear for more than 100 pages and you practically scream at the author to bring him/her back. And its at this time, if you are not careful, you lose sight of the important happenings in the other characters lives. Anyway, as i said it, great continuation from Spirit Gate and am looking forward for the concluding part.
My Rating - 3.5 stars
PRICE - INR 290/- from Tor Publications