Adult/High School-A sequel to Ravenheart that stands on its own. It tells the story of Gaise Macon, a young and chivalrous general; his father the Moidart, a cold and calculating feudal lord; and the Rigante, a group oppressed by the Moidart, who were featured in Gemmell's The Sword in the Storm and Midnight Falcon (all Del Rey, 2001). Although Gaise, his father, and the Rigante are all natural enemies, they band together to fight the trapped soul of an ancient and destructive god who acts primarily through an agent who is clairvoyant and in charge of a vast army. Gaise, the Stormrider, becomes nearly as evil as that which they are battling, even as his father starts to show more humanity. Gaise's struggles with his internal demons are the book's focus, and his ultimate redemption involves several interesting twists. Characterizations are strong, and even the minor individuals seem well motivated, with actions following logically from personality. Minor characters who admire but then become disappointed with the general tell his story from an omniscient third-person point of view. Gemmell presents moral choices with a rich complexity as conflicting circumstances and values lead even the "good" characters to follow different and often contrary paths. The battle scenes are intense, although the violence is always integral to the plot and character development. This old-fashioned tale of courage and action is told in a modern and engaging style that should appeal to teens.-Paul Brink, Fairfax County Public Library System, VA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
A first US publication for British fantasy author Gemmell continues the story begun in The Sword in the Stone, the initial installment in his Rigante saga. There, readers met the Rigante of Three Streams who worshipped the gods of Air and Water. Connavar, the Demonblade, a boy born in a storm that killed his father, had to help fight against the invading Armies of Stone. With Demonblade having become King of Rigante, Midnight Falcon told of the hardships of Bane, Connavar's wildly bitter and vengeful bastard, who found acceptance only abroad. And now Stormrider underscores the author's dark sense of war, as King Connavar and Bane defeat the Stone. Born 800 years later, Ravenheart (the soulname of Kaelin Ring) is the champion who may someday free the proud Rigante, now enslaved by the proud Varlish, led by the Moidart, murderous Lord of Eldacre Castle. But all will turn on Gaise Macon, known as Stormrider, who, as the son of the Moidart, gives deeply human complications to the plot. The evil Winter Kay, leader of the Knights of the Sacrifice, slaughters a whole village of peaceful worshippers of the Source and comes into possession of the Orb-a skull with an iron circlet on its brow-in a black box said to contain the Orb's evil. A civil war, however, has begun while Stormrider leads the Moidart's troops north, where Ravenheart, the champion of the Rigante, awaits him. Kaelin Ring adopts Feargol, soulname Moon Lantern, a six-year-old orphaned by a giant grizzly, and Feargol, who has the magic eye of foresight, will become Ghost Walker and foresee the rise of the next great army of darkness. Will Ghost Walker destroy Stormrider in the next installment? Tune in tomorrow.