Series: Green Rider #4
Publisher: Daw (2010)
Paperback (672 pages)
Also by this author: Green Rider, First Rider's Call, The High King's Tomb
Also in this series: Green Rider, First Rider's Call, The High King's Tomb
Reading Challenges: 2016 Backlist Books, 2016 Re-Reading, 2016 Royal Challenge, Read 2016
Once a simple student, Karigan G'ladheon finds herself in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand when she becomes a legendary Green Rider-one of the magical messengers of the king. Forced by magic to accept a dangerous fate she would never have chosen, headstrong Karigan has become completely devoted to the king and her fellow Riders.
But now, an insurrection led by dark magicians threatens to break the boundaries of ancient, evil Blackveil Forest-releasing powerful dark magics that have been shut away for a millennium.
As the name suggests, this installment of the Green Rider series finds Karigan in Blackveil Forest. That, however, isn’t the only thing of importance. I love how the story follows subplots that are all, somehow, related. Each character has a backstory and a motive of some sort.
Karigan G’ladheon is the ever faithful, ever loyal Green Rider. She knows her duty to her monarch and to the messenger service. The Weapons have adopted her as a sister-in-arms, an honor rarely bestowed. She is also the first knight in hundreds of years. She has found herself so far from the girl she was when she ran away from Selium all those years ago. She is stronger, better trained, and still determined to do what is right for her country and her king.
Captain Laren Mapstone of the Green Riders is innundated with new Riders thanks to the discovery of the horn of the First Rider. Her duties are, as ever, centered around serving her king. Her devotion to her king is absolute.
King Zachary Hillander is a just king. However, his decisions are not always popular. One of his most popular decisions was his engagement to Lady Estora. He knows that all he does has to be for his country, even if his heart doesn’t always agree. He will make the decision, no matter how difficult it may be, but that doesn’t mean he will ever forget.
Lady Estora Coutre has had to make some adjustments since her engagement was announced. As the future queen, there is a never-ending amount of things to be taken care of. She is bound by her duty to her clan, her country, and even her growing affection for her fiance.
Lord Xandis Amberhill is a relative of the king. He once took the guise of the Raven Mask until citcumstances demanded his occupation change from gentleman thief. His obsession with Karigan’s secrets seems like it will never be satisfied and now he feels the call to go to sea.
Alton D’Yer, heir of D’Yer Province and Green Rider, is tasked with protecting the Wall and defending the breach. Blackveil Forest lays dormant for now, but Alton knows that cannot remain forever. The Wall guardians have no answers, but someone Alton meets might.
Estral Andovian is the daughter of the Golden Guardian of Selium. She is a minstral by trade and finds herself at the Wall, hoping to record the history of it. She finds herself put to work with a few lines of music Alton thinks may be important for the maintenence or repair of the Wall.
Grandmother has led some of her Second Empire cronies into Blackveil. She believes she is under orders from her god to find and wake the sleepers. While she might not know exactly what this means, she will do it. Nothing is going to stop her from completing her task.
The Eletians make an appearance as they are half of the party entering Blackveil. They want to enter Blackveil to see what remains of Argenthyne, their lost capital city. There is also something specific they hope to find near Laurelyn’s castle.
There are so many other characters in this novel that are so important to this novel. If I tried to list them all, I know I would forget some. There are so many wonderful, developed characters. They all seems so real: the Green Rider afraid of horses, the elderly castellan who sleeps through Council meetings, the scheming cousin intent on advancing himself. They are all so real.
So much happens in this book. There are message errands, parties, assassination attempts, mutated animals of Blackveil, and unexpected character deaths (If you ever ask me what happens in a book, I will always say, “Everyone dies.”). This is a wonderful installment in the Green Rider series, even if it does have a terrible cliffhanger.