4 out of 5
The second novel in The Annuals of Drakis continues the story of the former slave Drakis and his various companions. Lost in a strange world amid the ruins of the human’s once great civilization, the group makes their way to the Citadels of Light where they hope to find the magic to get home. South in the Rhonas Empire thousands of pilgrims venture north following the Belag, one of the original slaves, as he brings the message of Drakis to the world. Former inquisitor Soen joins the pilgrims as he attempts to find a way out of his own predicaments and use Drakis toward his own ends. Secrets are revealed that bring the reader closer to understanding what happened to between the humans and dragons and where the magic went. At the same time, more about the Elven empire and it’s people is divulged.
The descriptions give a full picture of this varied and interesting world. Just enough information into the complexities of Elven politics and society are given to keep the story interesting without bogging it down with too many details. Secrets are revealed a little at a time keeping the readers attention. One section that got a bit confusing was the battle on the Shrouded Plain. There is no explanation as to why Belag is able to gather everyone to him, why his sword shines. Yet it is a small section of the story that is not referenced again. The hero that doesn’t want to be a hero has been done quite a bit lately and Drakis is no exception, he only accepts his position when it becomes clear it will help them get home. Hickman has placed his hero into a plot that gives him few real choices but he still feels responsible for the lives of his companions. In the end we see a changed man. Looking forward to the next in the series.