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The Summer Palace: Volume Three of the Annals of the Chosen by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765310286
Date: 10 June 2008 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

We follow Sword's adventures in the cold uplands until his final confrontation with the Wizard Lord and meet the new chosen created after the death of the last Wizard Lord. Hunted and hated, Sword must find a way to complete his duty and kill the Wizard Lord. Unfortunately this Wizard Lord has planned and prepared for the special skills that have been gifted upon the chosen. Sword must find a way to overcome his abilities and plans in order to exact vengeance for the deaths of his fellow chosen.

There is no place to go as the people of Winterhome and Barokan do not see the Wizard Lord as being bad. He has opened roads and facilitated trade. He uses his soldiers to keep the peace. Is what he did so bad? He broke the rules which might be forgiven, but the killing of chosen cannot be ignored.

Sword needs time to think and plan, but in a magical world, few places are truly secret and private. There is one place, forbidding but deadly during the Winter. Seeing no other options; Sword goes to the Uplands. He is taken in by a tribe of uplanders and is slowly taught some of their skills. He plans to winter where none have in the past; the one place where he will not be expected, the summer palace. Now I could describe more of the story, but I think readers will enjoy the story more as the author wrote it, and not me telling it.

This is the final book in the Annals of the Chosen. Originally the series was planned to be a bit longer, but the author felt that it wasn't necessary to continue the story past this novel. This is a good thing. I would much rather read a fast paced novel that tied up the loose ends, than a novel that takes hundreds of pages to not go anywhere.

I enjoyed this book. I like the grayness of the characters. Neither wholly good nor inherently evil, the characters are more realistic than might be expected in a fantasy series. Sword struggles with what it means to be good or evil. I thought it wrapped things up pretty well. It may not be as strong as the first book, The Wizard Lord, but it is still a good read. Lawrence continues to create a fun world full of excitement and adventure. Hopefully his next series will be as good as the Annals of the Chosen.

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