The third book in the Crown of Stars series - Kate Elliott's majestic fantasy epic.
KING'S DRAGON and PRINCE OF DOGS began Kate Elliott's enthralling tale of the war-torn kingdoms of Wendar and Varre and the story of Alain's and Liath's quests for truth. Now THE BURNING STONE continues the epic saga.
An uncertain and uneasy peace has fallen on the kingdom of Wendar. It seems that the king's favour has fallen upon Prince Sanglant, his bastard son, and that he is to be the chosen heir. But Sanglant is too troubled by the recent past to seek that crown. He needs Liath, the woman who saved him from his terrible captivity, even though such a liaison must incur the wrath of his father. For her part, Liath knows that her future lies with Sanglant. But she has also learned that her mother, presumed to be dead, is in fact still alive and searching for her, to school Liath in the powerful sorcerous arts. And Alain, their friend and ally, is in mortal danger from the curse of Bloodheart, who is reaching out from the grave...
There is nothing more tragic than legitimate ambition comprehensively thwarted and Kate Elliott's fantasy sequence has a bleak sadness even in its moments of triumph, simply because her heroes and heroines seem as if they are never going to get the chance to be all they could be. Alan, suddenly adopted heir to the local noble, is obliged to marry an anorexic princess whose hobby of heresy extends to fake stigmata; royal courier Liath and more than slightly deranged royal bastard Sanglant find that their love stands in the way of the King's dynastic plans; the prattish monk Ivar runs away from heresy proceedings and hides among a young prince's boon companions and catamites. And while the nobility juggle marriages and churchmen bicker about doctrine, invaders mass on the borders and the world seems booked for cataclysms political and metaphysical. Elliott has not yet become as popular as she probably deserves--she has a real sense of what even an imaginary mediaeval world should be like, in its pompous scholarship and simple piety, and her characters are interestingly fluid; place Ivar in a cavalry charge and he does quite well. This third volume sustains the pace and grim tone of its predecessors in the Crown of Stars sequence. - Roz Kaveney, AMAZON.CO.UK
A gripping and enthralling fantasy epic - The TIMES
A grand and powerful piece of writing - Katharine Kerr