Here is another complex fantasy story from Mark Robson. It is the second part of a series, and it does build on part one, so do try to read part one first.
There may be a lot of strong magic in this series, but what really strikes me is the wealth of detail in the characters. There is a whole army camp here and I feel as though I know all the privates and corporals, sergeants and captains personally. They all have distinct personalities with very real strengths and weaknesses. There are some very fierce friendships and loyalties among these people, too.
Remember Private Calvyn? In The Forging of the Sword he went off with Baron Keevan's forces to fight the Holy War. You will already know about his personal victory over Demarr, from Book One, but now we learn that as a result of his performance he earns early promotion to Corporal. Does his friendship with Jenna survive this promotion? Well, yes, and no. Jenna is not jealous of Calvyn's promotion. She is delighted for him. But since they are no longer of equal rank they naturally can't spend so much time together sharing the ordinary tasks of the day. A wedge is driven between them, just at the moment when Jenna begins to realise that she may be in love with Calvyn. Much is left unsaid between them when Calvyn leads his patrol on a routine sortie from the castle, and fails to return. It becomes apparent that he has been captured and taken prisoner, but for what purpose, no-one knows. I think Jenna might have determined to launch a personal rescue mission anyway, but when she begins to have mysterious 'summoning' dreams, we know she will soon be setting off on Calvyn's trail. And so we learn the identity of the Huntress.
And whose trail does Jenna follow? Well, obviously, she is after Calvyn. But she must also deal with other enemies on the way. It is not easy to fight an enemy whose purpose is not clear, and whose methods include terror and magic:
How could you plan a strategy against an enemy who fought with no apparent goal?
Now, if you want to know how Jenna gets on, and what has become of Calvyn, you will have to read the book. An excellent adventure, with real people, in the midst of dark days, turmoil and magic ...
What can I read next?
This is the second part of a series:
There is another excellent fantasy trilogy which might interest you, by William Nicholson:
Also I think you might really enjoy Philip Pullman's trilogy 'His Dark Materials':
Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:
- Trail of the Huntress by Mark Robson (Score: 100%)
- The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (Score: 100%)
- Stravaganza: City of Masks by Mary Hoffman (Score: 93%)
- The Starlight Conspiracy by Steve Voake (Score: 93%)
- The Navigator by Eoin McNamee (Score: 93%)
Trail of the Huntress features in these lists: