|The Gathering of the Lost is the
second book in "The Wall of Night" series, and is set five years on from the
story of book one The Heir of Night. The Gathering of the Lost
continues the stories of Malian, the heir, and Kalan her erstwhile companion.
and deceptively, The Gathering of the Lost is a title that has
more than one meaning. Malian and Kalan are lost to the Derai and, with Helen Lowe (using
a trick not often encountered) playing a game of cherchez-la-femme with the reader, hidden
as other characters thereby making a much more satisfying read in the process. But
Malian and Kalan are not the only Derai to have left the Wall of Night and these lost
Derai are also being sought, as are the lost weapons of Yorindesarinen (the greatest hero
of the Desai).
The Gathering of the Lost is not another quest story, in fact
far from it. If there is a quest involved it is the journey of greater self-discovery and
growth on the parts of Malian and Kalan as they grapple their own personal demons: literal
and figurative. This is a book that adroitly sidesteps the clichés and hackneyed stories
of swords and sorcery fantasy and makes its own path into that world and is all the better
for being true to itself.
I doff my reviewers hat to Mistress Lowe for an excellent sequel to The
Heir of Night whereby she has delivered a book that demands to be read and
taking the story in a direction I had not anticipated. Eleven out of ten, and a gold star.
This book is weighty and comprises a prologue and five parts. A long, wordy story but
unputdownable and a fantastic tale. If you enjoy epic fantasy, read this! It can be read
alone but for back-story you should read The Heir of Night first. Malian
and Kalen have fled the Derai world and are resting in the Winter Country, before resuming
their flight to the south, separately. The prologue contains Malians dream and
explains why the two must travel separate paths.
Jehane Mor and Tarathan of Ar are the Heralds thought to have helped Malian and Kalen
flee The Wall of Night into one of the lands of Haarth. They are heading for Ij and the
festival there, and encounter new characters on their journey, such as Tirorn and
Aravenor. There, complex alliances are revealed, before the mystery and action begins.
The next part introduces Maister Carick and the knights and damosels of Normarch. They
have many adventures and end up in Emer for a tourney and the Midsummer Festival. There,
the alliances grow more complex and many different forces come into play. Meanwhile,
Malian is still searching for the legendary weapons of Derais great hero, and aid
for defeating the Swarm, who threaten the Wall of Night and all the lands of Haarth.
The characters were very real, you felt you knew them. The plot was
fast-paced, tightly woven and there were unexpected twists. I didnt see a lot of
things coming and when the unexpected was revealed it was "oh, of course, that makes
sense!" My one complaint is it ended too soon and now I have to wait for the next
one. It will be worth the wait though. This series is addictive.