The Shadow Within
by Karen Hancock
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
400 pages; ISBN: 0764227955
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
The Shadow Within
Bethany House, August 2004, $12.99. 400 pp.
After renouncing the Holy Brotherhood of the Matis, Abramm the Prince of Kiraith was sold into slavery by his brother Gillard who wanted the throne for himself. At Abramm’s lowest point he reached out to the god Eidon who accepted him as one of his own. He proudly wears the shield that every true believer of Eidon has. It has been six long years since he has been to Kiraith but he returns to take the crown he never wanted because Gillard is leading his country to ruin. His return is a dramatic one as he kills a spawn in a ferocious sea battle with the help of the Light of Eidon.
He openly challenges the council for the throne, not showing them he wears the shield of Eidon. The members of the council are so impressed by the man he has become that he becomes the ruler of Kiraith leaving Gillard os only the heir-apparent. He knows war is coming from many kingdoms who think Kiraith is weak and open for a takeover but before he can deal with that problem, he must come to terms with his younger brother Gillard who would rather plunge the country into civil war than see his brother rule. Abramm must battle religious fanatics, creatures of the shadow and the duplicity of man if he wants to keep the kingship. He must have faith in Eildon’s plans for him and acknowledge his faith if he is to become the man he is meant to be.
In Abraaham’s world, his god is close to his followers, speaking to them and if their faith is strong enough, obeying his instructions. This is the second installment in the LEGENDS OF THE GUARDIAN KING and it is every bit as good as the prequel (LIGHT OF EIDON). Evil takes many forms in this story and one must believe in the light to see the darkness. Karen Hancock is a great world builder who has created a fantasy series that is reminiscent of the Arthurian mythos.
The protagonist is a true hero because he takes on a kingship he never wanted because he believes his people need him to fight in, both magical and mundane wars, battle shadow creatures and human enemies and in time win the hearts of the people who once rejected him. There is a sub-plot involving the beginning of a romance between the king and the second daughter of the king of Chesdeh instead of the first daughter that everyone believes he should marry. Karen Hancock has written a beautiful adult fairy tale that readers will find delightful.
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