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The Light of Eidon: Legends of the Guardian-King    by Karen Hancock order for
Light of Eidon
by Karen Hancock
Order:  USA  Can
Bethany, 2003 (2003)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Prince Abramm Kalladorne is the fifth (weakling) son of the king of Kiriath, who has escaped the bullying of his younger brother Gillard by dedicating his life to the Flames of Eidon, Lord of Light.

As Abramm completes his preparations to end his novitiate, he finds out that his father and elder brothers are dead and that he has moved up to become second in line for the throne. He is warned by his elder brother Raynen and Guard Captain Meridon that the leader of his order, Saeral, has been manipulating him, in order to gain the Crown. Raynen and Meridon are Terstans, members of a diverging religious sect, which Abramm has been taught to consider evil.

Fearing that Abramm will be a puppet contender for the throne, his brothers sell him into slavery, and circumstances send Meridon with him. After a stint as branded galley slaves, they end up as gladiators in the Esurhite games. Abramm is surprisingly successful in the rigorous, cruel training. With Meridon at his back, the young prince displays the fighting abilities of his ancestors in the arena.

He becomes known as the White Pretender and hailed as the Dorsaddi Deliverer (the Esurhites enslaved the Dorsaddi through brutality and black magic, and only a remnant few still fight on as Undergrounders). Abramm falls for a beautiful Dorsaddi slave (sister of the current king) who helps him to eventually escape. In another plotline, Abramm's twin sister Carissa, unable to bear children and mistreated by her husband, has followed on the trail of her beloved brother, but has had little luck in helping him.

Karen Hancock builds her epic tale on the premise that Eidon (god) gives his followers the ability to choose, and that bad, even evil, events occur for a pre-determined purpose. Abramm grows stronger through his ordeals and develops in character, so that he shows the promise of a great king. The episode ends as he destroys the evil Esurhite leader Beltha'adi, embraces the Terstan faith, and sees choices once more before him. Carissa, on the other hand, considers her brother to be still enslaved (this time to his faith) and leaves him.

In Light of Eidon, the author of Arena gives us an exciting fantasy, with plenty of action, romance, and a significant struggle of faith. Abramm has won his, and I look forward to seeing if it is Carissa's turn in the second book of the series.

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