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    Review of TIDES OF BLOOD by Richard A. Knaak


    Wizards of the Coast, April 2004

    After overthrowing the corrupt Minotaur King Chot, usurper King Hotak forges an alliance with the ogres and sets off on a war of conquest against the elves. With the help of his evil wife, a priestess of a death-cult, Hotak has eliminated much of the opposition but a few bands of rebels remain. While his daughter serves in the war against the elves, Hotak trusts his younger son and heir to the task of wiping out resistance. His older son, Ardnor, serves his mother and secretly hates both his father and his brother for failing to make him heir.

    As part of his alliance with the ogres, Hotak handed over minotaur prisoners to work in the ogre mines. Faros, an escapee from one of those mines, decides to strike back. Despite himself, he begins to gather a group of followers, other minotaurs and others, who share his hatred for the ogre overlords. Meanwhile, the rebellion is slowly being crushed, and the elf forests, long protected by a magic shield, suddenly becomes vulnerable.

    TIDES OF BLOOD is largely the story of Faros. Made cynical by captivity first by his fellow minotaurs and then by the ogres, Faros doesn't want to trust anyone and certainly doesn't want responsibility. Yet responsibility is thrust on his shoulders as he becomes the one being who can stand against the ogres and their oppression. Author Richard A. Knaak (see more reviews of novels by Knaak) makes Faros's attitude sympathetic, if frustrating.

    In NIGHT OF BLOOD (see our review), the earlier novel in the series, Hotak made a powerful and sympathetic figure. By now, Hotak retreats to a more minor and less emotionally compelling role. Similarly, the rebels who played an important part in NIGHT are now largely on the run.

    Knaak's writing is strong enough to sustain reader interest but I found TIDES less compelling than the excellent NIGHT. As the middle book in a series, TIDES suffers from having to pick up--and end--the story in the middle. Although weaker than NIGHT, the book grabbed my interest and hooked me. The ending serves as an exciting hook for the final novel in the trilogy--I can hardly wait.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 7/21/04

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