Glen Cook’s next installment in The Instrumentalities of the Night is a welcome update to an interesting story. We return to a world that is undergoing dramatic changes and great war is brewing. It was interesting and tense.
The main character, Else Tage/Piper Hecht, is a solid no-nonsense leader who is caught up in a whirlwind of political and ethical challenges. The reader is drawn along as he confronts these problems and is shaped by various influences. The evolution of the man makes sense as he goes through some of these shocks and as his pragmatic personality makes him adapt.
Magic, the Church, political motivations, religious persecution, corrupt politicians, and dithering nobles make up the cast of characters. Cook doesn’t spend much time developing characters who won’t stick around very long, but he does give them enough depth to make sense.
My favorite part of the story is the way that Cook allows his pragmatic hero to react to, adapt to, and overcome the obstacles to his different missions. It’s refreshing to hear someone think along logical lines as they figure out how to accomplish a military mission. Many of the details of the operation are hidden from us, but that’s not a bad thing since it keeps the minutiae from crowding out the story.
On the whole I strongly recommend Lord of the Silent Kingdom as a worthy addition to the series. Cook keeps the story moving forward and develops essential characters without bogging us down with more information and superfluous personalities. Good stuff.