A traitorous pretender sits on the throne. A fierce kraggin destroys the lives and livelihoods of the people of Kiriath's capital city, Springerlan. Evil shadow-spawns infiltrate the city. The Armies of the Black Moon prepare to attack Kiriath as gray-robed radical Gadrielites patrol the city looking for Terstans to persecute.
This is the Kiriath that the rightful king, Abramm Kalladorne, returns to in the second book of the Legends of the Guardian-King series, The Shadow Within, by Karen Hancock.
Now secretly a Terstan, Abramm Kalladorne begins his campaign to retake his crown from his younger brother Gillard, who had ambushed him and had him sent into slavery, by slaying the kraggin that has terrorized the port city for months. When the council votes to convey the crown upon him, Abramm's problems have only begun. With assassination attempts, betrayals, court intrigue, sword fights, and a ravaging monster created of hatred threatening him, Abramm contends against the enemies within that threaten to destroy Kiriath before the Armies of the Black Moon arrive. Add to this a fleeing, estranged sister and a plain princess insistent upon bringing Abramm's past to light and you have the elements that make this story such a page turner.
Hancock skillfully weaves a story with monsters of mythical proportions, a hero full of doubts and faith, one princess fleeing from her past, another princess who stubbornly avoids princessly stereotypes, and friends with a loyalty we all dream of. The characters are difficult to leave behind when the last page is read.
This book will have readers flailing through chores like a light-stabbed kraggin and howling at family like a blood-thirsty morwhol to get back to its pages. The reading is exciting, the story engrossing, and the characters won't let you go. I look forward to finding a copy of the first book in the series while I await the third. -- Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
Abramm Kalladorne returns to Kiriath to claim the crown he thought he would never wear and to prepare his people for the inevitable attack of the Armies of the Black Moon. Though fiercely opposed by his own kin and reluctant to thrust his country into civil war at the worst possible time, he nevertheless believes this course of action is Kiriath’s only hope of salvation.
In the midst of this turmoil, a headstrong princess from a neighboring realm endeavors to uncover Abramm's secrets—including his heroic exploits as the White Pretender and the fact that he wears a golden shield upon his chest. Her interference threatens to destroy any chance he has of maintaining his rightful place as king.
Against a backdrop of somber council meetings and back-alley sword fights, of magnificent ballrooms and windswept mountain fortresses, plots and counterplots unfold as old alliances dissolve and new ones form. If he is to succeed, Abramm must come to terms with his own limitations—and the sufficiency of the one who controls his destiny.