The Righteous Blade : Book Two of The Dreamtime (Nicholls, Stan. Dreamtime, Bk. 2.)
by Stan Nicholls
Review by Steve Sawicki
Eos Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 006073891x
Date: 01 January, 2006 List Price $13.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The Righteous Blade is the second novel in Stan Nichols' epic fantasy series. The first novel, The Covenant Rising, began the story of Reeth Caldason, afflicted with a magical curse that leaves him incapacitated with rage; the resistance against the overbearing rule of Garth Tampoor; Serrah, refugee from a former life as a mercenary; and a band of other disparate characters generally being persecuted by the corrupt authority of the Paladins and the occupying forces of Gath Tampoor.
Readers will be familiar with the format that Nichols uses: the collection of diverse characters from differing backgrounds working together, somewhat reluctantly, for a common end; a rich background of magic and culture; a tyrannical power exerting itself over the land; and enough treachery to last a dozen lifetimes. All of this is here in this book and it's only one of the reasons the book is worth reading. The major reason is Nichols' writing and the way his characters move through this setting. Nichols does an excellent job providing his characters with not only the motivation but the emotional directive to move forward with their tasks.
The second book in a trilogy (or moreology?) is a tough book to both write and read. It's the book that needs to bridge the initial excitement of the opening gambits that produce the initiative for the novel to exist as well as introduce us to the characters and the final book which ties everything up. At their worst, second novels can be deadly boring and almost inconsequential fillers. At their best they serve to richen the story, deepen the characters and add more ingredients to the final mix. Nichols is much more toward the latter than the former and the book is both quick paced and interesting. The story moves along toward the inevitable end and the characters become more intriguing as they become more certain of their roles.
The first book is being reissued in paperback at the same time this volume comes out so if you missed the first you can pick it up easily enough. An interesting world full of interesting characters acting to the limits of their abilities makes this a fun read and a series to keep an eye on.