The new king of Thendylath Gavin Kinshield has vowed to protect the realm and it's people from the evil of the Beyonders - creatures of chaos who appear without warning and invade the world of men to wreak havoc. For this though he will need an army and of course a huge amount of funds to support such an army, of which he has neither.
With his new found skills as Wayfarer he does have the power to travel to any of the seven lands; but to end the invasion he must travel to the realm of chaos and summon Ritol - the most powerful of all Beyonders.
One of the things I love about this series and the Wayfarer King in particular is how the author spends time developing the antagonists as much as the protagonists, making them all the more human and bluring any black and white or good and bad boundries. Each of these characters are really brought to life, full of emotions and clearly caring for one another as much as Gavin and his friends do. For me this makes a real difference and it is used to great effect in this novel, moving from one perspective to the other as we travel through the story.
The story continues on from the events of The Kinshield Legacy without any real introduction or back history and as such it is highly recommended you read the previous volume first. There is the same style of high fantasy, action, intrigue and adventure and we see the characters continue to grow and learn from those responsiblities that have been thrust upon them. Gavin learns more about his magical abilities and how to be a ruler while at the same time beginning to understand just what he's inherited - including the strange and powerful sword Aldras Gar. There is again plenty of well paced action and also a touch of romance, although I am glad to say not too much. The pace feels faster than the previous volume due to less world-building and exposition and it took me very little time to read the whole novel.
The plot is very intriguing and there are a few genuine suprises contained within however I did feel that the novel ended a little prematurely and events were wrapped up quicker than I anticipated, I would have liked to read more of the supporting cast than I did. There is a really strong style present that matches the high fantasy setting perfectly and there are some real gems within the novel, at times it is quite emotive and I found myself pretty much lost within this colourful world.
The Wayfarer King is a moving story with an exceptional cast, an excellent piece of fantasy fiction and a rewarding finale to the series.
Written on Friday 14th October 2011 by Antony Jones.
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