Books : reviews

Patricia Bray.
The First Betrayal.
Bantam. 2006

Patricia Bray.
The Sea Change.
Bantam. 2007

Patricia Bray.
The Final Sacrifice.
Bantam. 2008

Patricia Bray.
Devlin's Luck.
Bantam. 2002

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 8 September 2010

Devlin Stonehand has nothing to live for after the death of most of his family, but wants to provide for his brother's widow. So he goes to Kingsholm, capital city of Jorsk, to attempt to become the country's Chosen One, an ideal role: it pays a great bounty, but usually results in death within a short time. He is accepted in the role, which involves a magical geas, but the inevitable death just won't oblige. Also, there is clearly much wrong in the kingdom. Can Devlin regain enough will to live that he can help Jorsk in its time of need?

This is a fairly straightforward story of one man's redemption and how his courage and honour (and luck) allow him to succeed. The various villains are fairly obvious, but it is done well, with his success in his various trials down to plausible chance, intelligence, and sheer hard work, not some implausible untrained ability. Well enough done that I'm off to read the rest of the trilogy.

Patricia Bray.
Devlin's Honor.
Bantam. 2003

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 8 October 2010

Devlin is the Chosen One, General of the King's Army, but he can't get the nobles to realise the danger that Jorsk faces. His authority can only be proven by finding the long-lost Sword of Light. When Devlin sees a painting of a previous Chosen One wielding the sword, he realises that he does in fact know its location, back in his homeland of Duncaer. So he travels to find it. But his return is fraught with peril and heartache.

This builds on the previous novel well, and we get to see the very different customs of Devlin's own people. It's not a simple "collect the plot coupons" quest; rather we see Devlin having to cope with coming home to a hostile land, and having to use his knowledge of his own people in order to achieve his goals.

Patricia Bray.
Devlin's Justice.
Bantam. 2004

rating : 4 : passes the time
review : 10 October 2010

Devlin has retrieved the Sword of Light that proves him the true Chosen One, and returned to Kingsholm, but his troubles are just starting. he is betrayed into the hands of Jorsk's enemy, who wants to use Devlin's geas spell to ensorcel an invincible army to defeat Jorsk. And he is beginning to fully realise the cruel path that fate has put him on as the Chosen One.

A good finale to the trilogy, with several unexpected twists. Devlin certainly suffers long and hard, and we get to see some of the horrors of war. I found the ending a little rushed, but it is a ripping yarn getting there.