In book two of the Shadow’s Fire Trilogy, we find the two brothers and cousin continuing their adventures, having left their family farms to find riches in the east. Just as the first in the series was a terrific read, so is this sequel. Patterson continues with his scary dark world of trolls, dwarves, magic, haunting sounds, with all of these elements contributing to the boys journey. In this story, the three are traveling with some Dwarves who are searching for a lost city. Danger confronts them on a daily basis, leaving Eric, the most sensitive of the three, struggling with their situation. Eric tries to make sense of the killing, the hatred of others and the manipulation of one species over another. In addition Eric is at odds with his family members and others he is traveling with. He tries to reconcile the manner in which he lives with his beliefs and comes up short.
One of the things I am amazed with in these stories is that diversity is dealt with in a serious way. The prejudices that appear between humans and Dwarfs or Trolls, between warriors and farmers, between Dwarfs and humans and on and on; somehow through it all Eric manages to see through the labels and judge the character inside. I find it fascinating to ponder; the struggle of whether or not a creature is worthy of life or death.
There are two stories here; the adventure of finding the lost city and Eric’s struggles. Eric was a simple man with simple dreams, marry and farm, but he got talked into a journey he never wanted, with a lifestyle he never dreamed of in his worst nightmares. He has killed and watched people kill; how can he reconcile this in his heart? This struggle takes the reader to a different level than most fantasy novels.
Patterson does a remarkable job!