Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Traitor's Moon

by Lynn Flewelling


Stalking Darkness, the previous book in the Nightrunner series, ended with a flourish and it's hard to imagine how Lynn Flewelling could follow it. Yet Seregil and Alec are back for more in Traitor's Moon, and the war with Plenimar is far from over. The situation is looking desperate for the Skalan people as they run low on wizards, troops and allies in the face of the onslaught. Nearby Mycena looks certain to fall to the enemy.

Princess Klia leads a delegation to Aurenen to negotiate for an alliance and the reopening of trade routes between it and Skala. It is decided that Seregil, an exiled and dishonoured Aurenfaie who makes his living as a thief and spy, would be best placed to help her. It's fantasy, it doesn't have to make sense.

We learn more about Seregil's past and why he is so reluctant to talk about it, as he makes this journey back to his homeland. It's quite a culture shock for the Skalans, because the long-lived Aurenfaie do everything differently. They abhor murder, value honour, and take a very long time to decide on anything.

Once the party arrive in the capital of Sarikali the pace becomes slower. The politics are confusing at times, and with eleven major clans and several minor clans to keep track of it can be hard to remember who is who. It doesn't help that the fantasy apostrophe is used liberally: rhui'auros, ya'shel, Nha'mahat, Ra'basi, Bash'wai, and so on. The clichéd language of the Aurenfaie soon grates.

It emerges that there may be a mole amongst them, and Seregil and Alec don't know who is to be trusted. When one of their party dies there's a reasonable amount of mystery about who is responsible. Meanwhile Beka is becoming attached to the Aurenfaie known as Nyal. His loyalties are questionable, and he certainly isn't the only one who could be hiding things. There are plenty who would prefer to see Klia fail, as well as others who want to see Seregil punished further for his past misdeeds.

Lynn Flewelling insists in the prologue that "This is not a trilogy", but it helps to have read the first two Nightrunner books in order to understand the relationships and history behind it. The main characters in Traitor's Moon grow and learn and they are the main strength of this book.

Whilst there is plenty of intrigue, Traitor's Moon is less sexually charged than previous books, and overall less edge-of-the-seat suspenseful. Aurenen is supposed to be at the wellspring of all magic, a special land inhabited by dragons. But the dragons are mostly just small ones that nip people, and more magic doesn't necessarily make for a more immpressive story. A lot is going on, but the plot meanders at times. This is a fair book, but not quite to the standard of the first two books in the Nightrunner series.

Book Details

Decade: 1990s

Categories: Books

  Male Protagonist  

If you like this, try:

The Still cover    

The Still by David Feintuch
Rodrigo is a young prince fighting to claim his kingdom in this fantasy of war and betrayal.

3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
More about Lynn Flewelling