Unholy War is the
third volume in David Hairs Moontide quartet, which is a shorthand way of
saying that the action and adventure have taken place but that the story is not over yet.
As with the other books in this series there are multiple viewpoint
characters and multiple scenes of action separated by thousands of kilometres. Some of the
characters cross paths as their peregrinations around the invaded countries of Ahmedhassa
(to the locals) or Antiopia (to the invaders) brings them into contact. For some this is a
joyful reunion and an opportunity to trade news, both personal and strategic. For others
the encounters are less than friendly, in fact the engagements are often with extreme
prejudice to the continued health of both parties; frequently some characters die.
But this book is not a hack and slash fest as the above would suggest.
Alaron and Ramita are now travelling together; he hoping to unravel the secrets of the
Scytale of Corineus, and she in search of a safe haven for herself and her two babies.
They are being pursued by two equally dangerous and mutually antagonistic groups that are
both trying to get hold of the scytale. Ramon, Alarons best friend at the mage
academy back home in Norostein is leading a remnant Rondian army out of southern
Ahmedhassa by the long way in the hopes of avoiding the force that butchered it so
effectively at a battle the Rondians were set up to lose by their own high command. And
Elena is waging her ongoing campaign of attrition against her former employer and lover
Gurvon Gyle. And he in turn is playing his own games of cross and double-cross in order to
secure his own precarious future.
Through all these stories the author is maintaining a credible social,
political and economic backdrop whilst creating and maintaining distinct and identifiable
characters. At no point have I felt that the story has been populated with
interchangeable, twenty first century people spouting and displaying anachronistic
thoughts and attitudes. The story has been a delight to read. I look forward to the final
volume with high hopes and heavily bated breath.