It was a slow start very descriptive. Just persevere and around chapter 13 it starts getting exciting and more interesting. You will become attached to the characters and the intriguing storyline. It was well worth the time spent listening to this! The author quotes a few scriptures here and there too. I can’t wait to start the next epic novel to see how it all unfolds.
The key word to this series is "Saga". Kieth Merrill has taken on a huge project. His book is full of complex characters and situations. The plot has subplot after subplot. There are many characters and sometimes it takes a minute from chapter to chapter to figure out which person and situation you are reading about. It would be hard for me to write character names and who goes where, when, how, and why!
In spite of the problems I had transitioning from character and story, I really enjoyed this book. It has been a long time since I've read a book that makes me use my brain to catch up. I appreciated the change of pace.
The basic premise of the story is there are powerful men who want to remain in power, there are others who want the power, and there are a few who are called to rise up, not to get the power because it is their destiny to change.
The land has had the great evil come upon it. Two young men, one trained in religion and the other a slave are a force for good. Their God has held them in reserve and given them opportunities to learn so that they can overcome the evil. One needs to find the 13 stones touched by God to restore goodness. The other is a possessor of a stone. It will be interesting to see how their paths cross and how they work together.
The book is violent. It is a war between good and evil. The evil people are very evil and seek dominion by destroying those who get in their way. There is innuendo, concubines, noticing women's figures, etc. I would suggest this book to mature readers.
This was a difficult book for me to get into. You know how a realtor will describe a house as "cozy" when really it's just cramped? A realtor for this book would call it "richly detailed".
For this book, you need it.
Mr. Merrill has set up a world that is not your typical high fantasy agrarian, with rolling fields and castles and serfs. Instead there are jungles and plains, stone temples and fortresses. The characters are, by turns, intense, dark, bloodthirsty, and devout. There is a fierceness to several of them that speaks to a long history of warrior-kings who have not grown soft while sitting on the throne. But that history is ending as the current king, Kublan, seeks to extend his reign even as his bones rattle in a sharp wind.
Yeah, this is sweeping epic fantasy for sure. It definitely brings out that tone in me.
It takes a while for the story to get rolling, since Mr. Merrill has so much set up work to do. The reader doesn't even meet the third contender for the crown until about a quarter of the way into the story. I want to say that I slogged through the narrative, but that's the book's saving grace--it continually captured my interest with each twist of the plot. And the further I read, the tighter the plot twisted. There is a *huge* cast of characters, but they are handled deftly and I never once said, "Now who is this?"--which is a feat in and of itself.
So, to sum up: The setting is well-described, the characters are distinct, and the writing is clear and evocative. I thought I was done with epic fantasies for a while, but I would be interested in reading the rest of this saga.
Gentle Reader Alert: There was no swearing or sex, but there is some violence. It's not graphic, but it is intense.
I've always had a hard time recommending George R.R. Martin's A SONG OF FIRE AND ICE because of the scenes with gratuitous sex. Gratefully, I can whole heartily recommend SAGA OF KINGS: THE IMMORTAL CROWN. There are so many things I love about this novel. Drakkor is a complex villain and the introduction of the Sorceress was the perfect amount of "creepy". Heads up: the prologue is very intense (PG-13), particularly during the "trial of death by three." And I loved the protaganist, Asher, and his goodness and the new friendship he has with the Oracle. NO SPOILERS, but I loved, loved, LOVED the fight at the Temple. Seriously, my heart was pumping and I was so engrossed with the story that I missed my stop while riding the bus. The cast of characters is wonderful. I'm especially fond of Meesha and her mastery of the sword and the courage she shows. And I LOVED the scene at Stokenhold Fortress between the exiled prince and his son. I'm bursting to talk to someone about this!!! And, of course, I'm totally cheering for the slave, Qhuin. I was reading late into the night because I had to know if Qhuin catches the . . . oops, no spoilers. Yes, I've become addicted to searching for the stones of power. And Mr. Merrill better finish the next book sooner than later because I'm anxious to know more about this so called Lord of Vengeance. And dragonwolves?!!! Hurry up, Mr. Merrill. And bravo! You've created a world and characters that I care about and long to return to.