The demon's attack at the betrothal spreads fear and doubt throughout the nations of Ki'hal. But Gen's courage and sacrifice make him a legend and inspiration to the people. As the long, dangerous trip to Elde Luri Mora approaches, the Chalaine must battle her misgivings about the Ha'Ulrich and lean on her faithful Protector for the strength to do what she must to save the world. As the journey across shards begins, her friendship with Gen deepens with every mile forward - but so does the danger. Intrigue and ruin threaten the caravan at every turn, but the most dangerous war of all is fought within the walls of the Chalaine's heart.
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I enjoyed the whole series, narrated superbly by Simon Vance. He is my favorite narrator. There are weird names for people and places, so below are brief descriptions of the characters in this book, and the setting, but no plot spoilers:
The planet is Ki'Hal. Long ago, this fantastical planet split apart into shards, only accessible via magical portals. The three major shards are also nations: Rhugoth, Tolnor, Aughmere. Planet Ki'Hal has three moons: Trys, Duam, and Myn. Trys is eclipsed. Trys, shown on the cover of each book, is central to the plot. Each moon yields different magical gifts, which can be supposedly used only by skilled mages. The nexus for the power of the god Eldaloth is the moon Trys, and a sacred place on Ki'Hal called Elde Luri Mora. In this book, the characters travel to Elde Luri Mora, crossing several bleak shards to get there. They must perform a wedding ceremony there, in the Temple of the Three Moons.
The main character is an orphan named Gen, a likable bard-turned-warrior, about 19 or 20 years old. When the series begins, he is apprentice to the bard Rafael, in the obscure village of Tell, on the nation-shard of Tolnor. Then he becomes bodyguard to the Chalaine (see below) in Rhugoth. In the previous book, at his village, Gen had a crush on Regina and was best friends with Gant. They are mentioned in this book.
In the prequel, a vicious warlord king from a different nation-shard (Aughmere) invaded the nation-shard Tolnor, and took an interest in Gen. This warlord is Torbrand, the Shadad Khairn, like a tribal warrior Khan, or a sheik. Torbrand loves his daughter Mina. He plays a strong supporting role in this book, Duty.
Then there is the Chalaine, of noble birth, beautiful, kind, and brave, but overwhelmed by the prophecies of her divine destiny. She's about 18 years old. Her best friend and handmaiden, Fenna Fairedale, plays a strong supporting role. They live on the nation-shard Rhugoth.
The Chalaine is destined to wed the Chertanne, aka the Ha'Ulrich (ull-rick), aka the blessed one. He is from the nation-shard Aughmere. His father is Torbrand, the vicious Shadad Khairn of Aughmer mentioned above.
Together, the Chalaine and the Chertanne (Ha'Ulrich) are prophetically destined to save the world, through their offspring.
The Chelaine's mother Mirelle is called The First Mother. She is also beautiful beyond the norm, but is politically shrewd, ruling in the capital city of Mikmir, on the nation-shard of Rhugoth.
Inside the crystals in an ancient necklace are three teachers from the past, three über-warriors who fight Mikkik's evil: 1) Samian Birchwood, perhaps the kindest one, he's a woodsman (and Maewen's father), 2) Elberen the archer, a wise and knowledgable elf, speaking the old language, and 3) General Telmerran Fourtower, the boldest (and most reckless) of the three.
Members of the elite Dark Guard protect the Chalaine and the First Mother: Dason, Jaron, Kimdan, Gerand, Volney, Cadaen, Captain Tolbridge, etc.
General Harrick Oggbeth also protects the Chalaine, and helps rule all of Rhugoth. He is one of the regents of Rhugoth, and Kimdan's father. Regent Oggbeth is a contemporary of the First Mother, Mirelle.
Church clerics: High Pontiff Obelard, Mage-priest Ethris, Padra Athan, Aaron the acolyte, Salem the sailor-turned-pureman, etc. They serve the prophecy, and the Church of the One, the murdered god Elderloth. They strive to defeat the god Mikkik and his army of hideous creatures. They also strive to defeat the ilch (ilk), a humanoid sent by Mikkik to destroy the holy couple and their holy child.
The series also includes a few of the Millim Eri, powerful ancient elves, the last of their kind.
There is also the Ash Witch, Joranne. Her sons are the priest-mages Ethris and Kaimas (and one other son barely mentioned in the series). She is cursed to age a lifetime each day, and supposedly serves Mikkik, but is unpredictable.
This is an engrossing series no doubt. Gen is a bit of a Mary Sue, but that doesn't bother me within this story's context. One thing cannot be denied. Simon Vance is a maestro. I could listen to the worst story narrated by him and love it.