In this prequel to Crown Duel, teenage Shevraeth is invited by a king his own age to train in command at the cavalry academy in Marloven Hess, known for its violent history. Shevraeth is reluctant to leave his own comfortable and civilized Remalna for this warrior kingdom, except that Remalna is slowly becoming less civilized and more violent under a bad government. In Marloven Hess' elite academy, Shevraeth finds every assumption overturned, including his own identity. He discovers action, laughter, terror, enemies, friendship - and even romance - as world events move inexorably toward conflagration.
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The making of a leader - not to be missed!
A Very Strong Effort by Berman and Smith
This is a well-done prequel. In essence by reading Crown Duel first, this book felt like a long secret handshake between the author and reader. This may be Fred Berman's strongest book. I love it to piecese and listen to it again and again.
My favorite character is Shevraeth, the main character, but his best friend Savona is also great and is one of the best characters I've ever read. I love Savona!
Fred does an excellent British accent in this book (although I am American so I am not sure if this would hold up for British readers but I think so), and also lends a lot of emotion to the climax.
This is one of my favorite books of all time now! The Crown Duel series is one of Sherwood Smith's strongest.
- Erin Lewy