***May Contain Spoilers if you have not read Hawkwood’s Voyage***
Synopsis (from Goodreads): When a power-hungry fanatic wins himself a highly influential religious position, three resistant kings must fight a brutal war merely to maintain their thrones.
Kings Abeleyn, Lofantyr and Mark have been excommunicated and labeled heretics by the new High Pontiff, Himerius. While the Merduk hordes have settled into a winter camp to wait for spring, Abeleyn must fight his way back to his kingdom in hopes of regaining his throne.
The Heretic Kings begins about where Hawkwood’s voyage ended. However, it doesn’t start with the characters I most wanted to know about, mainly Hawkwood and his expedition. A council has laid claim to Hebrion while its king is still away and soon nobles are maneuvering to take the crown. Abeleyn’s journey home is not an easy one. The other, “legitimate” kings are trying to rid the continent of the heretics, forcing Abeleyn to fight nearly every step of the way home.
In the monastery city of Charibon, two young monks come across an ancient text that will shake the very foundations of their faith. While Richard Hawkwood and his companions have reached the western continent and must now face new dangers on land.
If you read my review of Hawkwood’s Voyage (here) you’ll know that i found some of the authors descriptions long and tedious. While this book does have long descriptions, things have become much less tedious. There are battles being fought all over, from on the sea on ships to the middle of a humid jungle. This book has much more action to keep the reader interested.
The characters are beginning to show more substance, though only a few seem to get a spotlight. Abelelyn, Corfe and Hawkwood are the major players and we’re finally getting some growth out of them. Abeleyn especially, as he deals with being labeled a heretic and the fight to regain his kingdom. There are, however, even fewer female characters in this book than there were in the first and none of them are particularly likable or have much substance. This series has a mostly male cast and I don’t expect that will change in the next three volumes.
Overall, I give The Heretic Kings 3/5 stars and am looking forward to starting book 3.