October 2003
© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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Sword of Honor (Boundary's Fall, Book 2) by Bret M. Funk
Tyrannosaurus Press; Trade ISBN: 0971881901 PubDate: August 2003
544 pages ; List $19.99
Review by Rob Archer

 

Picking up the saga that he wonderfully began in his first book, Path of Glory, Bret Funk jumps right back into the story of the races of Madryn as they attempt to hold back their mortal enemy Lorthas and his minions both inside and outside The Boundary.  Sword of Honor follows the split companions as they follow their separate, yet interdependent adventures that they were embarking upon at the conclusion of the first book.  Funk continues his captivating story though a writing style that keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next.  Similar to his last work, Sword of Honor is a dense five hundred plus page tale of intrigue, adventure, and coming of age. 

One of the strengths of this young author is the way he spins a story while doing strong background descriptions.  He does a great job of explaining various cultures and the inner workings of magic without a boring recitation.  The ability to describe the way of life of both the elves and Garuníah as well as how they interact with each other and the humans was the key to the story.  The author is able to continue setting the stage for the climactic battle that is building between the forces that wish to enslave the continent of Madryn and those that would remain free.

Following in the tradition of many other companion-style quests set in a mythical world of magic, the author does a nice job of juggling his groups of characters as they each work towards their individual tasks.  We are able to follow Jeran and Prince Martyn as they make their way towards the elves and develop relations with this reclusive race.  We are also able to follow Dahr and the guardsmen that he leads as they seek out the Garuníah in an attempt to warn them of the approaching danger.  And perhaps most interestingly, we are able to finally get a glimpse of Lorthas and learn some of the feelings that drive him.  As in the first volume, it is refreshing to encounter a foil that is not a caricature of evil, but foes that seem to have some dimension to them.  There is little further development of the Durange brothers, but this tale does bring us into closer contact with the Dark Lord that they follow.

I was particularly drawn to the way in which the various beliefs and social systems of the differing races was explored.  This is sometimes a difficult task for any author, and here it is handled masterfully.  A very nice touch was the way in which both the elves and Garuníah explained their versions of the story of the gods.  This was used to show that the races had similar beliefs, but slightly different interpretations and ways of living to the standard of their own god. 

This story goes a long way towards showing the growth in stature, maturity, and leadership that the three young men are making as they strive towards meeting the growing threat to the world that they cherish.  All are forced to make choices that are far from perfect, but that test their honor as well as their hearts.  The story ends on a bit more of a cliffhanger than the preceding novel, and I for one am very eager to see how the tale turns out.

If you have not given Path of Glory a chance, I recommend you do so.  Once you do, Iím sure youíll want to dive right into Sword of Honor as it is of the same quality.  This is a really entertaining story told through the eyes of genuine characters that allow you to root for them and become invested in how the story ends.  A very engaging read!

© 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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