Compelled by compassion for his people, exiled Abramm Kalledorne returns to Kiriath to claim his rightful crown. Bitterly opposed by his deceitful brother and a crazed Mataian priest with dark, supernatural powers, Abramm nevertheless assumes the throne. But can he keep it? If the powerful Mataian religious sect discovers the Terstan shield—the symbol of an outlawed faith—embedded on his battle-scarred chest, his reign could be the shortest on record.

Probing inquiries by a brash princess from another kingdom threaten to expose Abramm's secrets, including his former identity as the legendary slave gladiator, the White Pretender. But these perils pale in importance when the Mataian priest creates an invincible monster straight out of Kiriathan legend. None of the royal house may survive to stand against the threatened invasion of the Armies of the Black Moon.

Hancock is in high form with this newest installment of the Legends of the Guardian King series. A breath-stealing plot whisks readers from one adventure to the next without sacrificing the depth of characterization and human pathos that mark a truly great story. (Sep., 445 pp., $12.99)
Reviewed by: 
Jill Elizabeth Nelson