Book Two of Sword of Shadows - from the bestselling author of The Book of Words trilogy
The war to end all wars is coming. The Endlords are preparing themselves for invasion. Now should be the time when city men and clansmen come together to fight the dark forces of destruction, yet they feud amongst themselves, unaware of the danger facing them. Only the Sull are preparing for war against the Endlords. They are an ancient, dwindling race, and they fear this fight might be their last. Sull legend speaks of The One Who Bears Loss, the warrior who will slay the Endlords, and they believe this warrior will be one of their own. Ash March is their most valued and sacred warrior, and it is Mal Naysayer's duty to bring her home to save her people. But thousands of leagues to the north, Raif Severance is learning that he alone can kill Endlords swiftly. An outcast and outlaw, Raif must betray his clan and forsake his beliefs, and raise the Fortress of Grey Ice.
A Fortress of Grey Ice is an almost entirely satisfactory second volume of the Sword of Shadows sequence that started with A Cavern of Black Ice. It separates its hero and heroine and puts them through very different experiences--Raif is hardened by dishonour and hunger into the hero that will successfully kill one of the more monstrous interlopers into his world from a darker one, Ash takes the decision to atone for the inadvertent acts that have made such incursions possible. Elsewhere, a convict frees his sorceror's master; a young challenger exploits the tangle of clan politics to make himself a name; older and wilier contenders survive for the time being--Jones manages a collection of characters with very different motivations successfully enough that we end up with mixed sympathies and a fair amount of time for all of them. The fantasy world she creates here is less conventional than that of many of her rivals--she draws inventively from human cultures that live in cold places and this is a fantasy that draws as much from Inuit and Finnish legend as it does from Scotland or Scandinavia. There is a controlling intelligence here which makes up for occasional overcomplication and overwriting. - Roz Kaveney, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW