Pride often goes before a fall, but sometimes that prideful fall is so catastrophic that it changes history itself.
Among the immortal Sithi of Osten Ard, none are more beloved and admired than the two sons of the ruling family, steady Hakatri and his proud and fiery younger brother Ineluki - Ineluki, who will one day become the undead Storm King. The younger brother makes a bold, terrible oath that he will destroy deadly Hidohebhi, a terrifying monster, but instead drags his brother with him into a disaster that threatens not just their family but all the Sithi - and perhaps all of humankind as well.
Set a thousand years before the events of Williams's The Dragonbone Chair, the tale of Ineluki's tragic boast and what it brings is told by Pamon Kes, Hakatri's faithful servant. Kes is not one of the Sithi but a member of the enslaved Changeling race, and his loyalty has never before been tested. Now he must face the terrible black dragon at his master's side, then see his own life changed forever in a mere instant by Ineluki's rash, selfish promise.
Kes and his master will range the world, risking countless dangers and meeting both mortals and immortals of many kinds as they try to undo the tragedy that springs from Ineluki's fatal pledge. During this journey, the seeds are planted for events that will culminate centuries later in the Storm King's War in Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn and the dreadful Norn Queen Utuk'ku's assault on humanity in The Last King of Osten Ard.
In the end, Pamon Kes must question everything about his life - and risk everything, too - as he struggles to save his beloved master, Hakatri. But will anything Kes does be enough? Or has Ineluki's rash promise already set the entire world on an unstoppable course toward destruction?
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Average rating from 2 members
Osten Ard is one of my favorites worlds in fantasy genre. It's so rich in details, history and characters that I never get enough reading about it. The present novel(la) is an important addition to this universe. Set about a thousand years before the events in The Dragonbone Chair, it tells the story of Hakatri and Ineluki in their quest to kill the black dragon Hidohebhi and beyond, told from the PoV of Pamon Kes, Hakatri's Armiger. As usual, Williams' characterization is flawless. Even the smallest character has a well defined personality. Hakatri will rip your heart off, Ineluki will make you angry and frustrated, but at the same time you'll pity him for his burden afterwards, and Pamon Kes will make his way under your skin little by little, wishing him all the luck he can get to have a life of his own. It's a heartbreaking story, however beautifully crafted, but a rewarding one, as is the case with all Williams' novels. The first half is more slow than usual, but as the story progresses and Pamon Kes grows on you, you will be unable to put it down. I can't wait for The Navigator's Children to be published, so I can immerse myself again in this universe!