Durham is a very skilled storyteller who has created a wonderful tale.
The apocalyptic struggle against the conquering Mein has ended and a victorious Corinn Akaran reigns over the Acacian Empire of the known world. Bolstered by her growing mastery of the forbidding, sorcerous powers contained in the BOOK OF ELENET, she rules with an iron hand.
The Other Lands follows on nine years after the events of the excellent Acacia. In this sequel, we see Corinn Akaran firmly established as Queen of Acacia alongside her son by Heinish Mein, Prince Aaden. Princess Mena is out in the Known World with her husband Melio, defending the land from the creatures known as the foulthings. The foulthings are abominations left over from the Santoth involvement in the war at the end of Acacia.
News also reaches the court from the mysterious Other Lands. Queen Corinn dispatches her brother Prince Dariel to act as her emissary, along with Sire Neen of the League of Vessels, and soldiers of the Numrek to make greetings with the Lothan Aklun. From the moment Dariel sets sail across the Grey Slopes, the Known World will never be the same again....
The second book in Durham’s Acacia trilogy is every bit as good as the first book. Whilst this is the middle book in the trilogy there are plenty of things happening in this colourful world and some great scenes. The world building really takes shape and the key characters and their motivations are developed further. Lots of mysteries are now resolved with more to come, and we now have greater depth of many of the events that have previously taken place. New exciting characters and groups are also introduced and the magic element really takes shape. It is Durham’s handling of the magic elements and world creation, which really shows his mastery and development in this genre.
The book and Acacia also deals in some emotive subjects such as child slavery known as the Quota. Durham uses his historical knowledge and previous expertise in this subject, to portray it convincingly and show the corruption of individuals and groups who perpetuate it.
In the first book Durham had a way of making you sympathise with both parties. This also takes place in this book, though not to the same extent. This book certainly sees parties of corruption and even though we know deep down who we are rooting for, nothing is really as it seems. I believe this is to do with Durham’s skill as an historical writer, in that he teaches us that a story (read history) must be told impartially and that ultimately it is the winners who go on tell it in their own way.
In conclusion, this is a book which has lived up to the expectation of Acacia. In many ways it did not feel like a middle volume and in others it fulfilled a middle volume’s purpose. Durham is a very skilled storyteller and in this trilogy he has so far created a wonderful tale. The ending to this book is also worth savouring and the future looks bright. My only mild criticism was that Mena had a much smaller role, and I hope to see far more of her in the conclusion. The final telling of this story points towards an explosive and dramatic finale, and it has now become my most anticipated book of 2011.
Review by Allan Fisher
Tom from Ohio
Not as good as book one but I still will purchase the next book in the series.
8.2/10 from 2 reviews