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Title: Reap the East Wind
Series: Last Chronicle of the Dread Empire #1
Author: Glen Cook
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
Mocker and Nepanthe’s son was held against Mocker’s attempt in killing Bragi Ragnarson. When Mocker failed, Ethrian was thrown into a torture cell. He escaped and came to a desert. There he meets a sleeping god and it’s servant Sahmanan. The god wants a conduit and Ethrian wants revenge against the Dread Empire. They form an alliance and using undead, begin to attack the Empire.
Lady Mist has used her time in Ragnarson’s court to play political games back home in Shinsan. With Ragnarson’s help, she sets in motion a coup to regain the throne of the Dread Empire. She plans on double crossing Ragnarson and destroying the upstarts who stopped the Empire before but Ragnarson wasn’t born yesterday and realizes this. His plan is to get Mist to be queen but with enough instability to keep the Empire from his door for a generation.
Nepanthe, now married to the sorcerer Varthlokkur, is pregnant with their child but can’t let go of the idea that Ethrian is still alive. Varthlokkur won’t try to find his grandson (Mocker was Varthlokkur’s son) and when the issue is forced, it causes a split between Varthlokkur and both Nepanthe AND Ragnarson.
Ethrian is taken over by the god due to his hatred and despair but is destroyed through the combined efforts of both Varthlokkur and the Empire’s magicians. He dies in Nepanthe’s arms.
The book ends with Mist and Ragnarson in control of their respective kingdoms but both are weakened and more fighting is on the horizon. This trilogy is truly the Last Chronicle of the Dread Empire.
I was introduced to Ethrian in All Darkness Met back in July ’17 but then I completely forgot who he was due to the prequel duology that I read next. So it took me some time to work out just who this boy was that was so important.
This book felt a LOT darker than the previous Dread Empire books. Part of it was Nepanthe’s giving in to despair and Varthlokkur’s refusal to look for Ethrian. Throw in Lady Mist’s complete acknowledgment that she will destroy the kingdom that Ragnarson rules even though he gave her sanctuary from her enemies and you just end up with a lot of nobodies that you can root for. Ethrian’s slide to the darkside was depressing as all get-out too.
The whole zombie/undead thing was pretty nifty but Ethrian just didn’t have the military experience to make full use of it. The Empire’s general was simply able to outmaneuver him. Shows why the Dread Empire has lasted as long as it has.
Once again there were what I term “skips” where a lot happens in the background but I the reader am apprised of it through a one sentence mention of the fact even while it has big implications for what is going on. That type of thing has to catch me in the right mood for it to work. This time it did. But next time? I might end up savaging Cook for being a complete jackass for using such a plot device. Even being aware that he uses it doesn’t help.
I found the writing to be better than the previous duology. That helped keep my interest, as well as not having those wretched characters, El Murid & Haroun, involved. I’m just waiting for them to stick their nose in in the next book and ruin it for me. I just don’t like those guys.