Book of the Year 2008 (see all)
Valour’s Trial is the fourth novel of Tanya Huff’s Confederation Series and if you have never read any of the books in the series please don’t read any further as there are spoilers ahead.
Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr has finally been allowed to re-join Sh’quo Company and get back to fighting The Others with no politics involved. Before this she spent the previous books becoming increasingly disillusioned by the Elder Races and why the Younger Races are fighting but not included in diplomatic missions, as well as being disquieted by the appearance of Big Yellow and the realisation of what it actually is. Is Torin finally going to be able to settle back into the ranks or will she be able to find out the truth?
Once back with her company they are sent to fight The Others where Torin disappears and for all purposes is now missing in action. Is everything as it seems or is Torin about to start another grand adventure where she will have to use every bit of her ingenuity to stay alive? When Torin first goes missing it seems as if she has entered a world where all the rules of being in the corps have been abandoned, where the strong survive and the weak are only waiting to die. This is just one of the trials Torin will have to get herself through alongside a motley cast of characters both old and new. I found parallels with this book and with William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.
As Torin is now back with Sh’quo Company we meet quite a lot of her old colleagues, who seem happy to see her. There are also characters from both The Better Part of Valour and The Heart of Valour which makes for quite a reunion. It is good to see so many familiar faces as well as meeting new characters who will shape the story you are about to read. I enjoyed the dynamics of how the group worked between those who have known Torin the longest, before all her feats recounted in this series, and those who met her after these events. Is this because Torin has always strived to never leave anyone behind or by force of personality alone?
If you have been following and enjoying The Confederation series then you will enjoy the twists and suspense of this latest edition. In terms of the unexpected the series still feels very fresh and I love the dilemmas that Torin has to overcome. Where she goes from here will be full of interesting choices. So I leave you with these questions: Are you ever free of your past and do you need to be?
Review by Michelle Herbert
9/10 from 1 reviews
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