Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Review: The Merchant Emperor by Elizabeth Haydon
With The war of the known world upon them Ashe and Rhapsody, leaders of the Cymrian alliance, face danger on all sides. Rhapsody had fled to the safety Ylorc hoping that the fortress with protect her and her infant son Meridion from the mad dragon Anborn's rage. Having learned that the Merchant Emperor Talquist seeks her son for his own nefarious reasons, Rhapsody is forced to make a fatal choice. Ashe is left alone trying to organize their forces, while the dragon inside slowly drives him mad. Anborn begins to build a line of fortified defenses as Talquist's armies begin their forays.
This book serves as a bridging point between what has come before and as the opening act in the final trilogy in this series. As a result some significant side stories, particularly those involving Anborn Tristan Steward are definitively resolved. Having some periods of 'calm before the storm', allowed some reflection which lead to some real character development especially for Anborn. I also enjoyed how Haydon portrayed struggle that Rhapsody and Ashe had to face when their duties as parents and as monarchs clashed.
My one disappointment is that there were some significant characters, namely Grunthor and Achmed, who suffered from a lack of 'screen time.' I know that is bound to happen with any series with such a large cast of characters but these two are definitely a huge part of these books heart and soul.
Overall Haydon has made an eight year wait worthwhile by delivering a solid novel that sets the stage perfectly for the remaining two books in the series. 8.5/10.