Nightchild by James Barclay

(2001-12-14)

The Chronicles of the Raven: Book 3

The concluding volume of the Chronicles is an excellent capstone to a superb series of books. The Raven, again are faced with a world-shattering challenge. What makes this challenge even worse is that it is from their own ranks. The Nightchild refers to the daughter of Erienne and Denser, Lyanna. Lyanna is the prophesized uniting child of Magic, bringing the One magic back to Balaia, uniting the four colleges.

Five years have past since the events of Noonshade and the Raven have gone their separate ways, finally following through on the promise to retire the made in the beginning of Dawnthief. It is one event in Dawnthief that sets everything in motion for Nightchild, the consummation of Denser and Erienne’s relationship.

Also still around are the Dragons that helped to close the rift in Noonshade. As a result of their actions they are stuck in Balaia, dying slowly from the Balaian atmosphere. They are aging rapidly and hunted as big game. The people of Balaia seemed to have forgotten the sacrifice the magnificent beasts made to save them. The only thing between death and the Dragons is Hirad, who was bonded to Sha-Kaan, the great rule of the Kaan brood of Dragons, during the events of Noonshade. The Unknown Warrior is married with child and runs full-time, the bar he owns. Thraun is leading a pack of wolves.

The only thing that brings them back together is that one of their own is in danger. Erienne and her daughter are being hunted by the colleges in an effort to stop them uniting the four magics of the colleges into the One magic. The Raven have matured and yet they still are the Raven, even through all of their infighting.

Barclay continues the fast-paced adventure and adds some great conflicting scenes of the Raven. It’s not what Barclay’s characters say to each other, but rather, what they don’t say and is understood through sheer knowledge of each other. Simple exchanges between Hirad and the Unknown or Hirad and Denser truly make the characters interactions superb.

Nigthchild is a satisfying conclusion to this initial trilogy by James Barclay. He expertly brings hanging elements of each preceding volume to closure. Though, there are seeds for a future story or two left unexplored. Let’s hope Mr. Barclay lets these seeds grow into new stories.

Check out Barclay’s site at http://www.jamesbarclay.com

Reviewed by Rob H. Bedford
robbedford@earthlink.net


© Rob Bedford 2001

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