The Warrior's Bond by Juliet E McKenna

(7.0/10)

In the fourth of Juliet E McKenna’s Tales of Einarinn series we are back with the chosen man Ryshad, elevated from a sworn man as a reward for his earlier investigations into the ice island wizards. This is set in the same time period as the third book, so whilst his love Livak is travelling to the forest and mountain communities to find out about aetheric magic, this follows Ryshad as he follows his lord to the summer solstice festival, where the great houses come together to celebrate, as well as plot and scheme.

Also attending the festival is Temar, a young nobleman from the lost colony across the sea. As the highest ranking of those awake, he represents the interests of the colony, and has to learn fast the changes in society that have taken place in the hundreds of years he was under an enchanted sleep. As Ryshad was involved as a representative of the House of D’Olbriot’s interests, in the wakening of Temar and many other colonists, he is now charged with accompanying Temar as he makes his first foray into modern society. It’s a rocky road to tread, with other houses resenting the influence D’Olbriot has on the potential riches to be found on the colony’s island far out to sea.

This is a far more contained novel than others before it, with all of the action taking place in one city, and the intricacies of the higher reaches of society forming the backdrop of the action, rather than far-flung islands or mountain villages. I think it serves a useful purpose to a point because up to now we have had little contact with the great houses, and the ruling emperor, instead following Livak and Ryshad on their separate journeys around the lands.

Ryshad, as a chosen man and as a companion to Temar, is caught between his old world of being out on the roads using his own initiative, and being back holding court with his lord. With he and Temar having battled within Ryshad’s mind due to his sword holding Temar’s soul, he feels a strong responsibility to him, which means he has to constantly choose whether to follow and protect him, or follow his lord’s instructions. It’s a turning point in Ryshad’s life, along with having to decide how to be with Livak once she returns from the mountains, and I feel that this is woven very well into the wider picture of the politics of the empire encompassing Temar as houses scrap for a piece of the wealth on offer.

Action, particularly magic, however, is limited. There are both Hadrumal mages and an aetheric magic user from the colony present, but nothing overly dramatic takes place, and the ice islanders, who were the original bad guys of the series, seem to just be idling around on their island whilst one of them is causing trouble over in the mountains in the third book. A bit of the driving energy of the series has sapped I feel, and despite there only being one book left in this series, McKenna’s attention seems to be more focused on building up the world of Einarinn rather than on how the threat of the ice islanders is to be nullified.

However, this is still well written and it’ll be interesting to see how the strands come together in the fifth and final book.

Review by

2 positive reader review(s) in total for the A tale of Einarinn series

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All reviews for Juliet E McKenna's A tale of Einarinn series

The Thief's Gamble

A tale of Einarinn: Book 1 written by Juliet E McKenna

Wizards have been self-exiled to the isle of Hadrumal after years of war turned the populace against mage-born. Here, they are trying to regain the magic and knowledge lost [...]

Published: 1999

Our rating: 9.5 | positive reader reviews

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The Swordsman's Oath

A tale of Einarinn: Book 2 written by Juliet E McKenna

Ryshad had no choice but to kill his long-time friend and ally Aiten. Aiten's mind had been corrupted by the mysterious Elietimm and he was a danger to himself and a de [...]

Published: 1999

Our rating: 8.5 | positive reader reviews

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The Gambler's Fortune

A tale of Einarinn: Book 3 written by Juliet E McKenna

Livak has decided it's time she turned her new-found connections with powerful mages and mighty princes into solid advantage for herself. If she is to have any sort of [...]

Published: 2000

Our rating: 8.5 | positive reader reviews

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The Warrior's Bond

A tale of Einarinn: Book 4 written by Juliet E McKenna

Einarinn's greatest warrior, the swordsman Ryshad, has sworn to protect his lord, Messire D'Olbriot, even if it means watching his love, the beautiful thief Livak, [...]

Published: 2003

Our rating: 7.0 | positive reader reviews

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The Assassin's Edge

A tale of Einarinn: Book 5 written by Juliet E McKenna

After a long winter spent in the Kellarin colony, the crafty and beautiful Livak is anxious to move on. Now an opportunity is on the horizon. The reclamation of a lost sout [...]

Published: 2002

Our rating: 8.5 | positive reader reviews

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More Juliet E McKenna reviews

Dangerous Waters

by Juliet E McKenna

The Archmage rules the island of wizards, enforcing a ban on the use ofmagecraft in warfare. But there is a rumour of rogue wizardry abroad, its adepts not subject to the A [...]

Series: The Hadrumal Crisis: Book 1
Published: 2011

Score: 84

Our rating: 8.4 | 0 positive reader reviews

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The Warrior's Bond reader reviews

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