Rudi Mackenize, now Artos the First, High King of Montival, and his allies have won several key battles against the Church Universal and Triumphant. But still the war rages on, taking countless lives, ravaging the land once known as the United States of America. Artos and his Queen, Mathilda, must unite the realms into a single kingdom to ensure a lasting peace.
If the leaders of the Changed world are to accept Artos as their ruler, he will need to undertake a quest to the Lake at the Heart of the Mountains and take part in a crowning ceremony - a ceremony binding him to his people, his ancestors, and his land. Then, once he has secured his place and allegiances, Artos can go forward and lead his forces to the heart of the enemy's territory.
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Same Great Story, One too Many Books...
Lazy, repetitive, and preachy
If you enjoyed the previous books with no complaint, then this is for you.
The books that followed 'The Protector's War' turned me off from S. M. Sterling books. I only finished the series out of my foolish need to finish what I start. His descriptive writing style gripped me in the first three books of this series because it was used to describe the world as it changed. Once that change was complete I got tired of hearing the same descriptions. By the fifth book it was clear that Matilda wasn't attractive, that Rudy was, that 'changlings' got tired of hearing about the pre-change world, what each and every battle cry is durring a fight, what the smell of battle was like, what the callouses are like on the hands of a fighter, and how deft everyone who was raised by a ruler is at making strategic decisions.
I was also frustrated by how much time Sterling used to set up the next few books in the series. I didn't care about the children that would be the adventurers in the next series. It felt like he was just writing to sell more books.
Todd McLaren was an effective narrator for the series. I don't want to detract from his reading at all. I put all of the blame on this series to S. M. Sterling
Other books in the series perhaps, but this book was a frustrating read with little closure.
If you have gotten to this book then you've dedicated some serious time to these characters. Like me, you'll probably read it anyway. Just don't be disappointed if it doesn't provide any of the closure you were hoping for. I really enjoyed the first three books in this series, but the magic of the founding leaders was lost by this time. Even the final battle was disappointing. I'd say more, but details would be too filled with spoilers.