Select one of the keywords
The Dark-Eyes' War: Book Three of Blood of the Southlands    by David B. Coe order for
Dark-Eyes' War
by David B. Coe
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2010 (2010)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Dark-Eyes' War follows The Sorcerors' Plague and The Horsemen's Gambit as the conclusion to David B. Coe's outstanding Blood of the Southlands series, set in the same world - ravaged by war between the magical, white-haired Qirsi and the dark-haired Eandi - (and including some of the same characters) as Winds of the Forelands.

In The Sorcerors' Plague, vengeful old Mettai Lici (Mettai magic requires letting their own blood) unleashed a magical plague spread by infected baskets on her perceived enemies. Old Mettai Mesh and his son-in-law Sirj followed, intent on stopping her. In parallel, the Fal'Borna Qirsi tribe forced powerful Weaver Grinsa (in exile from the Forelands) to seek the source of the scourge - his wife and child held hostage for his return. Besh and Grinsa each hoped to prevent a recurrence of interracial conflict.

The Horsemen's Gambit brought together Besh, Sirj and Grinsa after the former had killed Lici. The Mettai earned Grinsa's friendship by showing their Qirsi captors how to cure the plague, but Torgan Plye, a merchant, escaped with an infected scrap of basket. Another story strand introduced Tirnya, warrior daughter of the clan that ruled in Deraqor before it was captured in the Blood Wars. Tirnya urged her marshall father to take advantage of the plague by warring against the Qirsi to win back lost territory. They were joined by a Mettai tribe, whose magic was (unknown to their new allies) cursed.

In The Dark-Eyes' War, Grinsa, Fal'Borna Weaver Q'Daer, Besh and Sirj make their way back to the Fal'Borna sept, where Grinsa defends the Mettai from A'laq (clan leader) E'Menua, who considers them the enemy and seeks to dominate Grinsa. Grinsa accompanies the tribe's warriors to fight the Eandi invaders, leaving his beloved wife and daughter once more. While all this happens, marshall Jenoe Onjaef leads an army (including his daughter Tirnya; Enly Tolm, the fellow captain who loves her but has strong misgivings about the course they're taking; and Gries Ballidyne) against the Qirsi tribes.

In a series of engagements, the Eandi forces discover the power of Mettai magic against the powerful Qirsi Weavers, but are also shocked by manifestations of the curse. Monsters conjured by their allies slaughter all in their path, including children, and eventually turn back to attack the forces that invoked them. After the Eandi army is joined by merchant Torgan Plye, who offers to deliver the plague to their enemies, Jenoe Onjaef and his officers begin to wonder if 'the cost of this magic is too high.'

The Dark-Eyes' War is an excellent conclusion to Blood of the Southlands, a fantasy trilogy that looks hard at the ease with which old enmities are re-ignited and the cost of warfare. I hope that David B. Coe will continue to write stories in this intriguing, masterfully developed world with its competing forms of magic.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Fantasy books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews