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    Review of NIGHT OF BLOOD by Richard A. Knaak (see his website)


    Wizards of the Coast, 2003

    The old minotaur Emperor is old and the empire corrupt, yet Emperor Chot remains unbeatable in the arena. Rather than try his chances in the traditional method of minotaur succession, General Hotak launches a coup. Aided by his magician/priestess wife, Hotak ruthlessly destroys everyone loyal to the old regime, sending army units and ghosts against those who even consider resisting. Yet Hotak is unsatisfied with ruling the minotaur islands. Throwing aside Chot's tentative alliance with humans, Hotak decides to make common cause with the minotaurs' most ancient enemy--the ogres.

    Although Hotak has eliminated most of the resistance, a few minotaurs remain unbowed. General Rahm, somehow protected from the priestess's magic, gathers a small force committed to destroying the pretender-emperor. Captured and worked as a slave in the mines, Faros plots eventual revenge. Yet their efforts, weak though they may be, are constantly undermined by the priestess's control over ghosts themselves.

    Author Richard A. Knaak writes an exciting fantasy novel. The violent and headstrong minotaurs make intriguing protagonists. Hotak is surprisingly complex, wishing to serve his people and empire at the same time as he ruthlessly suppresses anyone who dares to oppose him. His wife and oldest son, in contrast, are purely self-interested, yet intelligent enough to know that supporting Hotak will serve their own interests as well--at least until Hotak finds family obligations at odds with his duty to his nation. Knaap's writing is approachable and his characters distinctive and interesting.

    Fans of the DragonLance universe will find a lot to enjoy in NIGHT OF BLOOD.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 9/21/03

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