CM . . .
. Volume XIII Number 1 . . . . September 1, 2006
At the close of The Bonemender (See Vol. XII, No.2, September 16, 2005), Gabrielle had found herself inexplicably "called" to her dying father's side only to find that her extraordinary healing powers were unable to save him. In Holly Bennett's thrilling sequel, The Bonemender's Oath, readers are reminded that the Verdeau soldiers were joined by a secretive Elvin army to help secure their conquest over the Greffaires. Battle-weary, but joyous in their victory, Gabrielle and her brother, Tristan, are anxious to be home, though the duty of informing their mother of the death of their father, King Jerome, is one that Tristan is dreading.
As Derkh, a young soldier from Gref Oris, regains lucid thought, he realizes that he has been abandoned by his countrymen and saved by Gabrielle, a bonemender from his nation's enemy. Unaware of who his savior really is, a pall of dread surrounds Derkh as they approach Chênier, the capital of Verdeau. As the eldest son of Commander Col, chief of the Greffaire armed forces, Derkh frets about his immediate fate. When Derkh realizes that his destiny doesn't include slavery, torture or even imprisonment, he is baffled until he realizes that the castle is Gabrielle's home and she is the king's daughter. Relief is quickly replaced by apprehension and doubt, and Derkh continually rebuffs offers to dine with Gabrielle's family as he ponders why he is there and how he can live in a land that his country has invaded.
It is apparent that Gabrielle and Feolan plan to wed, but, before that time, Gabrielle will spend the summer in the Elvin nation of Stonewater in order to meet his parents and make an effort to learn more of the Elvin ways and their language. At the same time, love has also touched Tristan, and he is delighted that Rosalie returns his affection. Their betrothal is marred by Pierre LaBarque, a ruthless wealthy man of dubious means and a spurned suitor of Rosie's. LaBarque makes it evident that he will not have his prize taken away, and he plots to slay Tristan.
Tristan has stepped up to take the responsibility of ambassador for his country at the diplomatic talks, and it appears inevitable that the territories of the Kyrilan Basin will need to join forces against the probable threat of another invasion from the north.
The weight of his debt to Gabrielle hangs heavily on Derkh's heart, as does his discomfort in staying in Verdeau. So Derkh asks if he can join Gabrielle's and Feolan on their journey, knowing that he must somehow make his way back to Gref Oris. His opportunity comes after a night of celebration in Stonewater. Determined to find his way back to Gref Oris, Derekh slips away. Once his absence is realized, Gabrielle and Féolan follow his tracks, convinced that the journey is one of certain disaster for the young soldier. Derkh's journey to find home is perilous and results in capture by his countrymen, Gabrielle's sustaining a grievous injury and their subsequent rescue by the seskeesh, huge powerful beasts from the high country.
Meanwhile, the pride of the Emperor of Gref Oris has been sorely wounded by his nation's defeat, and it is apparent that he is willing to bleed his country of taxes and men who work the fields in order to service the Greffaire army in a plan to assuage the Emperor’s wounded reputation. Hungry men make poor soldiers, and the rumbling threat of civil war may squash the Emperor's plans for conquest. For the moment, plans to infiltrate Verdeau to investigate the abrupt turn in their battlefield fortunes may be the key to their victory.
Readers who enjoyed the first book in this high fantasy series will take pleasure in this exciting sequel. Holly Bennett has continued to develop the characters of Tristan, Féolan, Gabrielle and Derek and has introduced readers to the feisty Rosie. Readers will find it hard to put the book down as each chapter ends with an exciting climax and the next one picks up a thread from a previous high point. I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel to The Bonemender and became quickly absorbed in this thrilling page-turning tale. Hugely satisfying, the chapters of The Bonemender's Oath are broken down to follow the characters, of Tristan and Rosie, Gabrielle and Feolan, and young Derkh.
An avid fantasy reader, Libby McKeever is a library technician who works in the library at Whistler Secondary School in Whistler, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.