Master of the Cauldron

by David Drake

Reviewed by Coral

Prince Garric is continuing his royal procession through the Isles. His next stop is Sandrakkan, whose ruler, Earl Wildulf, has kept his island a part of the kingdom in name only, without showing any real loyalty to the king. On top of that, his wife Balila has plans to put him on the throne as ruler of all the Isles, plans he doesn't even know about.

While dealing with this, word comes to one of Garric's advisers that a man is claiming to be a bastard brother of King Valence, Garric's adopted father. The man plans on raising an army to oust his "brother" and the "Haft peasant" from the throne. Sharina and Tenoctris set off to deal with this problem.

Meanwhile, Ilna does something that sets a man trapped in stone free but transports her, her lover Chalcus and maybe her ward Merota to another place.

And while looking after a sheep, Cashel is approached by a woman who claims that his mother - a woman that neither he nor Ilna know anything about, as their father never told anyone about her - is in danger and only he can save her! So he heads off with this woman he doesn't know to another world! Again!

Another book, another convoluted series of events that leads the four main characters to having four separate storylines.

At this point in the series I have stopped expecting anything else.

Why should I expect Cashel to take even a second to think about things before running off with a strange woman? Or to expect him to question more about the sides in the battle he's asked to fight in? (Again, he once killed a man simply because he assumed the man to be the "bad guy". But has this made him consider thinking more before acting? No.) Neither he nor his sister knew anything about their mother, and this woman comes out of nowhere saying that his mother needs him, but does he even ask her any questions? Like where is my mother? Who is my mother? No he doesn't. Not even when he gets to this other world and the woman spends more time explaining her problems. He has no questions at all!

I skimmed through this book. All of the storylines were pretty equally boring.

Grade: F