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The Wyrmling Horde: The Seventh Book of the Runelords by David Farland
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765316660
Date: 16 September 2008 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Two worlds combined and trouble is doubled for the son of Gaborn Orden and his companions. Various factions are racing towards confrontation over the blood metal that was brought into the combined world. Powerful wyrmlings and runelords battle to free Orden from his prison. But, bloodletting is not always the way to triumph over evil.

In this the seventh novel set in the world of the Runelords, author David Farland sets forth the course for the future. Past biases create some of the greatest conflicts in this novel. Held in a prison, Gaborn is tortured with gifts of compassion. Through this gift he takes the pain of his dedicates. Lord Despair uses this gift in the attempt to break him. By torturing these dedicates, Gaborn feels all of their pain and they feel none. The pain may be more than anyone can endure, but Gaborn plans to try, because if he gives in either his dedicates or vectors must die, and when they do, the remaining dedicates will have to bear all of the torture without him.

A Note From David Farland:
"I'd like to thank the kind folks at SFRevu for the kind review. The point of about the Knights Eternal being "undead" is a judgment call. Are they living, or are they dead?

Actually, they're somewhere in-between. It's a sliding scale, with the living on one end, the wights at death's door, and the Knights Eternal somewhere off center--edging closer to death.

Unlike the wights in the books, the Knights Eternal have physical bodies,and so long as their spirit inhabits a body, that body is alive. (Most cosmologies suggest that humans are a combination of a spirit and a body, and I make use of that in these books.)

Because of this, the Knights Eternal can take endowments. However, the wights that rule the wyrmling hordes, having forsaken their flesh, of course can't take endowments."

Lord Despair feels triumphant. His greatest enemies are dead and the rival with the best potential is enduring agony and surely must break. But not all is well. The earth spirit is demanding that he use the earth skill to choose and protect people. This seems to be opposed to what he wants to do, but there may be a way to twist it to his own ends. He begins to gather the forces of darkness and evil from many worlds.

Rhianna with her captured wings is trying to find help for her captured friends. A treasure of forcibles may be of help, but if she can find people, what will they be able to do against the incredibly large and implacable enemy.

Dylan Hammer makes a choice to risk taking some refuges into his world. They may be harmed for just entering this dangerous world. But there is little choice with the Wyrmlings everywhere. The refugees want to make an attempt to rescue their lost king and his son, but nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

I really enjoyed this book. I especially like the concept of the Runelords. It creates a way for people to become very powerful but at an extreme cost. The internal debate that the people face as they learn about the shadow self of Raj Ahten, is satisfying. No people could easily risk trusting someone who was that driven and dangerous in another world, even if they should.

Not everything is roses. Although it isn't my world, I feel that there is one continuity problem. Living people must give abilities to living people. The undead can't receive the attributes. My own perception of the knights eternal is that they are undead, thus they should not be able to get attributes and more power as gifts of the living. I understand that there is a need to make them more powerful, but they should be able to do it in a more consistent manner. Excluding that one point of contention, this is a good book.

The author isn't afraid to kill off characters or have them removed from the board in other ways. The tale is intriguing; I finished my copy in the course of one day because I wanted to find out what happened. Now it is just the waiting game for the next volume.

Last: The Time Engine: The Fourth Book of the Moonworlds Saga / Next: Too Many Curses

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