Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

The Gathering Of The Lost The Gathering Of The Lost
by Helen Lowe

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten
Jan Butterworth

The Gathering of the Lost is the second book in "The Wall of Night" series, and is set five years on from the story of book one The Heir of Night. The Gathering of the Lost continues the stories of Malian, the heir, and Kalan her erstwhile companion.

Cleverly and deceptively, The Gathering of the Lost is a title that has more than one meaning. Malian and Kalan are lost to the Derai and, with Helen Lowe (using a trick not often encountered) playing a game of cherchez-la-femme with the reader, hidden as other characters – thereby making a much more satisfying read in the process. But Malian and Kalan are not the only Derai to have left the Wall of Night and these lost Derai are also being sought, as are the lost weapons of Yorindesarinen (the greatest hero of the Desai).

The Gathering of the Lost is not another quest story, in fact far from it. If there is a quest involved it is the journey of greater self-discovery and growth on the parts of Malian and Kalan as they grapple their own personal demons: literal and figurative. This is a book that adroitly sidesteps the clichés and hackneyed stories of swords and sorcery fantasy and makes its own path into that world and is all the better for being true to itself.

I doff my reviewer’s hat to Mistress Lowe for an excellent sequel to The Heir of Night whereby she has delivered a book that demands to be read and taking the story in a direction I had not anticipated. Eleven out of ten, and a gold star.

-Simon Litten

This book is weighty and comprises a prologue and five parts. A long, wordy story but unputdownable and a fantastic tale. If you enjoy epic fantasy, read this! It can be read alone but for back-story you should read The Heir of Night first. Malian and Kalen have fled the Derai world and are resting in the Winter Country, before resuming their flight to the south, separately. The prologue contains Malian’s dream and explains why the two must travel separate paths.

Jehane Mor and Tarathan of Ar are the Heralds thought to have helped Malian and Kalen flee The Wall of Night into one of the lands of Haarth. They are heading for Ij and the festival there, and encounter new characters on their journey, such as Tirorn and Aravenor. There, complex alliances are revealed, before the mystery and action begins.

The next part introduces Maister Carick and the knights and damosels of Normarch. They have many adventures and end up in Emer for a tourney and the Midsummer Festival. There, the alliances grow more complex and many different forces come into play. Meanwhile, Malian is still searching for the legendary weapons of Derai’s great hero, and aid for defeating the Swarm, who threaten the Wall of Night and all the lands of Haarth.

The characters were very ‘real’, you felt you knew them. The plot was fast-paced, tightly woven and there were unexpected twists. I didn’t see a lot of things coming and when the unexpected was revealed it was "oh, of course, that makes sense!" My one complaint is it ended too soon and now I have to wait for the next one. It will be worth the wait though. This series is addictive.

-Jan Butterworth

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