Lots of characters (99% of them male) are caught up in this fantasy epic. A blacksmith’s son, Corban, is getting ready to become a man. A prince, Nathair, believes he is the Bright Star and starts assembling a huge army lead by his loyal bodyguard, Veradis, to assert his destiny. There are multiple agendas, absent gods, uncertain motives and a question of which champion is which. This is a massive, brilliantly entertaining tome about good v evil. It ends on innumerable dangling plot threads which make you eager for further volumes in this saga.
However there are only a tiny number of women in this book. And they seem to exist only to be cryptic, in peril, frustrate men and the idea of women warriors is treated with shuddering horror. This has a rich dense plot but the sidelining of women is frustratingly backward and reeks of neckbearding.
“He thinks us all halfwits, blind to his clumsy attempts at manoeuvring.”
“If you run, live, then our deaths will have worth.”
“Then the screaming began.”
“I heard things. Noises from that ship, strange noises.”