Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Adversary by Erin M. Evans

In her two Brimstone Angels books Erin Evans introduced us to the young tiefling warlock Farideh. The Adversary picks up where Brimstone Angels: Lesser Evils left off. Farideh is still trying to protect her sister Havilar form learning that they are descended from one of the most powerful warlocks and as such are considered collector’s items by certain devils. Faridah strikes a bargain with a devil to protect the two sisters for ten years. The devil keeps the first part of the bargain by suddenly dropping them seven and a half years in the future. The knowledge that they lost that time drives a wedge between Faridah and Havilar.

Farideh still has to keep her end of the bargain. This requires her to go to a hidden fortress, even though she doesn’t know what will happen. As she drops through the portal her one time traveling companion Dahl tries to stop her. Instead he is dragged along. Now they are trapped in a hidden fortress far from their friends. While Dahl hides in the nearby village Ferideh is forced to help an old enemy with some experiment involving the Chosen of the gods. These individuals are connected in some way with the cataclysmic events coming to the world of Faerun. Now Farideh and Dahl have to find a way to stop the schemes and plans that are swirling around them.

This is the third book featuring Evans’ character Farideh. Unlike many fantasy writers Evans takes time to develop her characters and to make us really care about them. Farideh is a very sympathetic character. She made a poor deal to protect her sister in a world that holds a powerful prejudice against her race. Havilar is tired of being dragged around in the maelstrom of her sister’s decisions, but she knows that she can’t abandon her. Then there is the failed paladin Dahl. Ever since final rejection by his order he has taken to drink. Now he has to overcome his own feelings of anger and guilt and try to save hundreds of innocents.

The Adversary is also the third book in the new Sundering series from Forgotten Realms. The books in this series are connected to each other only loosely. As the books progress you can see the events moving towards some end. Like The Companions and Godborn, The Adversary links the author’s character with wider events in the world. Over the last few years novels in the Forgotten Realms world have mentioned the Netherese Empire’s actions in collecting the Chosen of the gods. Now, for the first time, we see what is happening to these chosen.

Evans is an excellent writer with a great touch for making her characters really come alive. The pacing is perfect and story is compelling. I look forward to seeing Farideh and company again very soon. 

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