So here we are, back again, as I finish up with War of the Twins! The Army of Fistandantilus has reached the mountain fastness of the dwarven home of Thorbardin, but it’s no easy battle for either side as intrigue and betrayal runs amok!
As always with these discussions on books, if you’d rather read it for yourself first and avoid any potential spoilers, please turn back now!
Duncan, the King of the Dwarves, is beleaguered by traitors in his own midst, as well as the constant, looming presence of his right-hand man, Kharas, who is a perpetual thorn in the lion’s paw with his sense of honor. In fact, Kharas is named so because his courage and convictions were respected and admired by the Knights of Solamnia. It’s a Solamnic word, meaning “knight” and is, apparently, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an outsider.
I rather like Kharas and I’m sad that no further books ever really expound upon him. He appears here in War of the Twins and later in Dragons of the Dwarven Depths. That’s really all you get of Kharas, though. Out of all the characters in this book, he’s actually one of the few that stands out from the rest, at least for me. With both sides chomping at the bit to go to war, knowing that neither side can really afford it, Kharas is the oasis of reason and good sense.
The dwarves aren’t the only ones with problems, though. The Army of Fistandantilus is held together only by the most tenuous of threads that start to unravel pretty quickly once they hit the real adversity of their campaign. By now, though, we all know that this entire debacle was put on solely so that Fistandantilus could reach the Portal at Zhaman.
At least it’s in this book that Caramon finally comes to the conclusion that his brother is a Really Evil Person, ironically because Raistlin tells him so. (Nevermind that Raistlin has been telling him that since Dragons of Spring Dawning…) Re-insert Tasslehoff Burrfoot as he once again performs his function of the Plot Device! that allows things to work out. Sort of. No kender is perfect, you know.
I can’t help but shake my head as Crysania and Raistlin work together to open the portal, though. It’s said in the text that the ancients couldn’t account for love in their predictions of a Cleric of Good working with a Black-Robed Mage of Evil. To me, there’s never really felt like much of a bond between Raistlin and Crysania, certainly not to the extent that it would make them a powerhouse of faith and stability. Maybe that’s just the fault of my own perceptions of romance influencing things. I expect romance to be romantic, doggonit!
Weis/Hickman make excellent use of a cliffhanger here at the end, pretty much guaranteeing that readers pick up the next book if they want to know how it all pans out.
Which is exactly what I’m doing next as I start my read-through of Test of the Twins!