Echoes of Betrayal: Paladin's Legacy
by Elizabeth Moon
Cover Artist: Paul Youll
Review by Harriet Klausner
Del Rey Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345508768
Date: 21 February 2012 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Lyonya King Kieri and hybrid elf Arian prepare to marry. However, his ancestral bones caution him to trust no one, not even his beloved or his elven grandmother queen of the Ladysforest clan, as his dead family insists treachery stalks him. Although he plans to still wed the love of his life, he wonders if elves, that have for the most part stayed away, or human are lethally scheming against him; as both races loath him.
Tsaia King Mikeli upsets his nobles when he gives the dukedom of Verrakai to Dorrin, a former captain of Kieri's army. Although her magelord predecessor betrayed the young monarch, his aristocracy resents her gender, her military experience for another king, and her possession of the forbidden magic. Loyalists to the deposed magelord want to regain what was stripped from them so they attack Dorrin's squires and threaten to topple the ruler.
Both kingdoms have a new, deadlier threat than the seditious activities of disloyal citizens. Feral dragon fledglings are killing innocent humans, elves, and gnomes with their fiery out of control mass destruction. War between dragonkind, humans, elves, and gnomes seem imminent with the two kings needing to ally with each other or watch their countries go up in flame.
The third Paladin's Legacy fantasy, the previous entries in this series (see Oath of Fealty and Kings of the North) and those in the first trilogy can be summed up nicely by the observation of a character who asserts that in the Eight Kingdoms, Paladins like Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter may be agents of change but cause mass destruction. In other words instead of agents of change, Paladins are agents of chaos as not everyone's life improves with their intrusion, which is happening to the Kingdoms of Tsaia and Lyonya.
The cast is sold especially the kings, Arian and Dorrin. The two monarchs will remind readers of players in Shakespearean tragedies who find that for every successful action; there is a counter-reaction as if destiny toys with them. That action-reaction is what makes Elizabeth Moon one of the great fantasists as she ties up a major thread yet closing that theme that only leads to new crisis. From the Pargun invasion to the treason of a magelord and now to the assault of rogue young dragons, extremely fast-paced Paladinís Legacy is a strong series as the remnants of the Echoes of Betrayal threaten two kingdoms and several species.