Review By Don Sloan
There’s a new peril endangering the Realmsic Castle and all the land’s inhabitants. No sooner have they vanquished the evil invader Damian (see The Realmsic Conquests, Book One), than King Maebus and his intrepid allies must engage a new — and vastly superior — force in this riveting sequel.
It’s world-building fantasy again at its best as author Demethius Jackson infuses this followup work with flying bombardiers, magical counterstrikes, and a new conquerer: the Empress Saraya, freshly flown in on the wings of an enormous battle hawk from the Nation of Zye to occupy this land — the latest of many that she and her companion, the half-man, half-tiger, Mercury, have rolled over with their superior firepower.
Unfortunately, King Maebus is grievously injured in the blitzkrieg onslaught, and loyal adviser Kelm utilizes his magical healing arts to stabilize his friend. But things take a turn for the worse as the king mysteriously disappears from his chambers and Kelm is thrown into a frenzy of self-doubt and recriminations. A close friend, Archivist Fable, tries to reassure him, and floats a new and radical hope to save Maebus: they must find and recover The Icon of Earth.
Meanwhile, all eyes are drawn to the skies where the sun is entering a strange eclipse — the result of magical energy slowly draining from the king’s failing body. If he can’t be revived soon, the sun will be extinguished — along with all life on the planet.
This story, like its predecessor, dares to delve below the fast-paced plot to examine in-depth the myriad motivations and flawed personalities of its major players. Yes, these are great characters, in positions both lofty and small. But each one plays his or her part with depth and, more often than not, conflict over the “rightness” of their actions. It makes for fascinating reading and thus becomes a tale well above the ordinary fantasy heroes-and-villains scenario.
What lies ahead for the beleaguered denizens of the Realmsic kingdom, once again overrun with strange and powerful foreigners? Will King Maebus recover and bring the magical forces affecting the sun back into balance? And, will the Icon of the Earth be uncovered and used, finally, to rout dark forces from the land forever?
You’ll be shocked, enthralled, and finally satisfied with the ending of the novel. But wait — is there still someone unaccounted for? Perhaps Book Three will shed light upon the situation . . .
Five stars to this ambitious sequel. It successfully carries the reader to new heights, exploring themes of steadfast friendship, newfound courage, betrayal, redemption, and heroic deeds done against the backdrop of overwhelming odds. Bravo!
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