Amidst the massacre he himself helped bring about, Carnelian is now desperate to find a way to avoid more carnage. But it is too late for that. His spurned lover, Osidian, seeking revenge and determined to win back his stolen throne, has deliberately stoked the wrath of the Masters who rule the world from its centre, Osrakum. Osidian's actions have stirred into motion political events in Osrakum which threaten to overturn the millennial repressive order of the Commonwealth. Carnelian learns that he and those he loves are now inextricably enmeshed in the terrible power game of the Masters. If he and they are to survive, he has no choice but to play that game himself, though he does not know how. He has no choice but to stand with Osidian in defiance of the invincible power of the Masters. No choice but to take his loved ones deeper into peril. In his struggle he will find unlooked - for allies and guidance with dreadful motives of its own. And ultimately, he will unleash apocalyptic forces which will bring him and his world to a reckoning none could have forseen, though it has been simmering for four thousand years.
If I’m going to be blunt here I’m not a huge fan of Ricardo’s writing. This is purely for the fact that I don’t get on with his wordy descriptiveness that makes what could be briefly summed up in a few words a real struggle to keep up with. It’s almost as if earlier literature values have shaped this offering and its not up to the standards expected by modern readers. With this his third outing in the series I feel that I’ve had a really hard time with this trilogy and to be blunt, will be quite happy to see the back of it.
Mind you, that said, were you to hack the descriptiveness apart then its not a bad title although one thing that may well infuriate you is the lack of a glossary that explains characters, places etc which was a damn useful tool in the previous titles. Personally I wouldn’t advise reading this without having read the previous two novels but if you feel that you want to try this title despite its faults then you can get a synopsis of the previous novels over at Ricardo’s home on the web.