01/04/2002. Contributed by Laura Kayne
pub: Orbit. 343 page enlarged paperback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK).
In this, the second of Kim Hunter’s ‘The Red Pavilions’ series, the amnesia-stricken Soldier returns. We meet him soon after the events of ‘Knight’s Dawn’.
He has just returned from his last adventure, that of trying to cure his wife, Princess Layana, of her curse of madness. It is not long before he is plunged into more dangerous exploits.
There is news that the King Magus – a powerful wizard who controls good and evil – is dead, and his successor is a boy whose mother befriended Soldier when he first arrived in Zamerkand.
Soldier is sent on a mission to find and protect this boy, IxonnoxI, until he is ready to become the new King Magus.
Along the way, more mishaps befall him and his friends. The city of Zamerkand is besieged by its great enemy, the Hannacks, who want to take advantage of the chaos caused by the King Magus’ death; the Chancellor of the city attempts to overthrow the Queen (Princess Layana’s sister) and Soldier’s wife herself is sent off to a distant land where she loses her memory.
There are also more mysterious and sinister forces working against Soldier. Why is he the only mortal – ever – to be invited to the funeral of the dead King Magus? Who is it that keeps trying to kill him by poison and magic? And will he ever discover who he is and where he came from?
Although some background to Soldier’s tale is given in this book, it would be useful to read the first volume first. The same slow, rambling pace occurs here as in ‘Knight’s Dawn’, although Hunter seems to have picked up speed a little.
The story is enjoyable enough but the plot is somewhat disjointed at times, nearly falling into a series of events only very loosely linked by common characters. The character of Soldier becomes more solid, but unfortunately not so much attention is paid to other characters in ‘Wizard’s Funeral’. There are several loose ends and you have to wonder if Hunter is ever going to explain the mystery of Soldier’s past.
When reading ‘Knights Dawn’, I had to assume that some discovery would take place in this sequel but apart from the small mention that another stranger, with the same unique blue eyes as Soldier, had been spotted, none occurs.
Hunter’s style is readable but the lack of a tight plot can get frustrating. Again, I would suggest only read this if you do not mind the slow pace and are happy to be lost in extensive and sprawling plot lines, unconcerned as I was, with the eventual outcome.
check out website: www.orbitbooks.co.uk
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Stephen Hunt's novels - USA