Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Series: 2nd (The Crown Conspiracy)
Published: April 1st 2009 by Ridan Publishing
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Description: When a destitute young woman hires Royce and Hadrian to help save her remote village, they find themselves once more drawn into the schemes of the wizard Esrahaddon. The two become the only hope for the isolated village plagued by nocturnal attacks. As each night brings death, and each day finds Royce frustrated in his attempts to breech the secrets of an ancient elven tower, Hadrian tries to help the people of the village defend themselves against the unseen killer. When the church arrives and declares that whoever slays the terror shall be emperor, they soon realize more is at stake than a handful of farms. The Church of Nyphron has decided it is time to establish the New Empire; all that remains is to convince the world they have found the Heir of Novron. Once more, what began as the simple theft of a sword has placed the two thieves at the center of a firestorm whose outcome could change the world. This fresh, heroic fantasy adventure is the second book of a series told through six self-contained episodes, each complete in their own right.
I Give This ...
I knew after reading the first book in this series that I wouldn't be able to wait long before I dove into the next one. I made it a point to fit this into my review schedule.
I'm still kind of surprised that these books are being republished as 2 in 1's. While that is the version I have, I often dislike how publishers do this. I'm glad I decided to keep the books separate. I felt like there was significant break between the two stories that warranted a separate book. But, the story opens with familiar characters doing what they do best.
I loved that the story mostly revolves around Royce and Hadrian because they really are two of the best characters I've seen in awhile. I find it so uplifting that they will take a job for reasons other than the money. I think the get a kick out of screwy with the rich, so the demand ridiculous prices from them. But, when it comes to a village girl who has been saving her whole life such a miniscule sum, they hardly bat and eye to help her. The journey to the small village will cost more than the girl can give them, but the challenge alone is worth it all.
I was not surprised to find the wizard Ezra hanging out in this remote village. I've learned quickly that nothing in this empire is as it seems. Everything is twisted to present the basic facts and the rest we learn as we go. Esra needs Royce to accomplish the impossible. Turns out what's attacking the small village is a dragon who has been locked up in the Elven tower Avampartha for a really long time (The current events in the kingdom have unlocked the spell that restricts it to the tower). The only way to kill it is with a sword with it's name on it. And of course it's locked in the eleven tower. Forgot to mention this Eleven tower is on a island that the tip of a waterfall. No one knows how to enter it. But, of course that's not the only reason that Ezra wants in the tower. And there's a specific reason why Royce is the man for the job (how did I not see that coming).
I'm curious how the winner of the contest the Church put on will fit into this story. The Church is looking for a puppet and I'm not sure they found the right one. Really looking forward to the next in this series!