Carol Berg’s writing and storytelling are among the genre’s best. She continually comes up with fresh ideas and interweaves them around stirring characters, and she demonstrates this anew in her latest novel, Guardians of the Keep, (the second part of The Bridge of D’Arnath series, which began with Son of Avonar).
Seri returns to Comigor, her ancestral home, to tell her brother’s family of his death in battle. Everything is in chaos; her sister-in-law is unwilling to shoulder the burdens of managing an estate. Her nephew Gerick has become sullen and withdrawn, and he soon makes his hatred of Seri (“the witch”) well known. But that doesn’t stop Seri from conducting an all-out search for the boy when he vanishes.
Seri’s old nemesis, Darzid, has spirited the boy away to the Zhev’Na lords’ stronghold, there to corrupt him for their own purposes. They’ve discovered a cataclysmic secret about him, something unknown to anyone … something that will shatter Seri’s world and throw all that she knows into doubt. With the aid of her husband, whose soul is in a body not his own, she attempts to stop Gerick’s descent into evil and prevent the destruction of two worlds.
Berg’s narrative style, in which she alternates the story’s “present” with flashbacks of events in different locations, serves her well. Rather than making the tale too scattered, it gives readers a fuller picture of developments influencing the main plot. The result is a richly detailed chain of events that never grows stagnant or boring.
The author’s deft hand with characterization is never more evident than in how she handles Gerick. Readers will see through his eyes, and watch his personality change and grow, as he deals with the reality of evil. It’s powerful–and sad–to see how a child can believe himself beyond redemption, and how he can be twisted to that way of thinking.
When the fate of worlds and the destiny of a child combine, the result is an affecting and deeply touching story. Guardians of the Keep holds up well for a middle book and sets everything up for a thunderous conclusion.
Series: The Bridge of D’Arnath
Page Count: 528
Publication Date: September 7, 2004
Acquired: Provided by the publisher
Read an excerpt