Gen's secret is out. The caravan is in shambles. The Chalaine is wed to the Ha'Ulrich and pregnant with the Holy Child. Dangers abound, the Uyumaak threatening to overtake and destroy the Chalaine and her companions as they desperately try to escape the Shroud Lake Shard. Split from Gen, the Chalaine must find a way to work with her husband before their mutual animosity tears the prophecy apart. Meanwhile Mirelle battles Padra Athan behind the scenes to free the man she loves more than anyone. Gen and his fugitive allies know that even if they escape the shard and the Uyumaak that hunt them, the Ha'Ulrich and Padra Athan will be waiting to destroy them on the other side.
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Book 3 of a fairly good fantasy series, narrated superbly by Simon Vance. He is my favorite narrator. This series includes no sex and mostly inoffensive language, with some exceptions. There is violence and bloody gore, but it's not excessive. The world-building and associated mythos is explained, not fully, but well enough for me.
A romantic triangle goes on across the series, which I eventually found irritating and bizarre. Nonetheless, I enjoyed this book, and the series.
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. Each moon yields different magical gifts, which can be accessed by skilled mages, etc. When a moon is fully eclipsed — as was the case with Trys in prequels — its magical power is not accessible. The cruel Elven "god" Mikkik gets his power from the moon Trys, but that power was given to him by the benevolent "god" he assassinated, Eldeloth. However, Eldeloth's spirit is still alive at a sacred place on Ki'Hal called Elde Luri Mora, in the Temple of the Three Moons. Most people revere Eldeloth and look for his resurrection /return, as the sacred prophecy promises. A few serve Mikkik, his killer.
The main character is an orphan named Gen, a likable bard-turned-warrior, about 21 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, he committed a holy crime. Now he's on the run, for several reasons.
In book 1, 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, along with General "Hardman" of Rhugoth.
Then there is the Chalaine, of noble birth, beautiful, kind, and brave, but overwhelmed by the prophecies of her divine destiny. She's about 20 years old, an aristocrat from the nation-shard Rhugoth. She is married and newly pregnant. She is wed to 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.
Members of the elite Dark Guard protect the Chalaine and the First Mother: Dason, Jaron, Kimdan, Gerand, Volney, Cadaen, Captain Tolbridge, etc.
Church clerics: High Pontiff Obeland, Mage-priest Ethris, Padra Athan, Padra Nolan, the soldiers of the church, the Eldefaire, etc. They serve the Church of the One and the prophecy, revering the murdered god Eldaloth. 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. Some clerics are out of control with cold zealotry.
The series also includes a few of the Millim Eri, powerful ancient elves, the last of their kind.
Inside the crystals in an ancient necklace are the souls or memories of 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.
There is also the Ash Witch, Joranne. Her sons are/were 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.
There are four books in “The Trysmoon Saga” series. They are one long story. Be prepared to read them all. The four books in order are Ascension, Duty, Hunted, Sacrifice.
5 stars for Ascension. Exciting wonderful journey following Gen an orphan. The evil local magistrate bullies and harms Gen and others. Warlord Khairn comes to town killing many. Khairn forces Gen to learn to fight. There are magical creatures and healers in this world. It reminds me of Lord of the Rings with a little Harry Potter.
4 stars for books 2 and 3, Duty and Hunted. Still very good as they continue Gen’s story.
3 ½ stars - maybe 4 stars for the last book Sacrifice. There were sooo many battles and journeys. The main characters fight, flee and survive one obstacle, then an emergency happens and they are fighting something else. I was getting a little weary of battle after battle. But the overall story and how it ended was worthwhile. The evil god Mikkik was close to destroying all the good in the world. The epilogue was fun and very feel good.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR: Simon Vance is excellent. And he does females well.