Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Lair of Bones


The fourth installment of author David Farland’s Runelords series opens on the fourth day of the month of leaves, with Raj Ahten’s caravan arriving at the Palace of the Elephant at Maygassa, with his servant Wuqaz wanting to go to Ghusa. Ahten follows through the Great Salt Sea, with another of his supporters, Feykaald, bringing him stolen treasure from the Earth King’s camp. Meanwhile, Averan learns of the way to the eponymous Lair of Bones, with King Gaborn reluctant to allow his consort Iome to join his expedition into the Underworld, location of the titular area.

Furthermore, Sir Borenson and his wife Myrrima flee the village of Fenraven, reaching the ancient city of Batenne and encountering the Inkarrans, who are held in disdain. South of the city, they visit the camp of the wizard assassin Pilwyn Coly Zandaros, who attempted to murder Gaborn, who in the meantime descends into the Underworld, where there are signs of reavers, who quickly attack. Averan knows the way through the reaver tunnels, and engages in battle with the villainous Consort of Shadows. Within the Underworld, they encounter the abandoned residence of Erden Geboren.

On the fifth day in the month of leaves, the Consort of Shadows captures Averan, drawing close to the Lair of Bones. As this occurs, the Inkarrans hold Sir Borenson and Myrrima prisoner at a mountain fortress, bringing them before the Storm King, with the latter experiencing a poisoning. A minor subplot involves Uncle Eber telling his pregnant niece Chemoise that Gaborn commanded them to take refuge, with the Darkling Glory coming. High in the Hest Mountains, Raj Ahten escorts his army with an intended conquest of Mystarria. Erin reaches Raven’s Gate, with King Anders mustering his forces.

Gaborn continues to race through the Underworld, facing reavers as well as the scavenging ferrin, his consort Iome ultimately finding a shortcut through the subterranean tunnels. The imprisoned Averan attempts to connect with the green woman Spring, although the olive maiden actually doesn’t play much of a role in the fourth entry. Borenson and Myrrima eventually flee Iselferion with the Inkarran Days Sakra Kaul as their guide, with the others of the hostile tribe giving chase. In the hills west of Carris, Raj Ahten gathers his forces, and Chemoise queues herself to give an endowment, although she has her unborn child to consider.

Borenson, Myrrima, and Sarka Kaul ride away from the reaver forces, with Erin Connal in the meantime heading to war in the retinue of King Anders. The One True Master ultimately confronts King Gaborn, and Averan works on creating magical seals critical to victory. In the end, I definitely enjoyed this entry of the Runelords a little more than its predecessors, with a glossary at the end defining some of the common terminology native to the series. There are many areas where the book’s editor didn’t do their job well, but I would definitely recommend this novel to those who enjoyed its precursors.

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