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The Last Guardian

by David Gemmell

Reviewed by Coral

Again, only because sometimes it is impossible to find the correct information about the chronological order of David Gemmell's books and sometimes even the correct information about which series they belong to, I tend to not put too much faith in the lists that I do come across. From what I could get from reading this book, it is the second in the Jon Shannow series and not the fourth book in the Stones of Power series like I've seen in some places.

After barely surviving the battle with the Hellborn, Jon Shannow continues onward on his search for Jerusalem. But, as hard as he searches, he comes no closer to finding it. Instead he finds himself in Pilgrim's Valley, another town overrun by Brigands. Despite his efforts to remain neutral, he once again finds himself embroiled in the efforts to clean the town up.

But Pilgrim's Valley may have bigger problems.

Nu-Khasisatra is just a simple ship builder. However he has been given a vision by his god, warning him of the disaster that will befall his people unless he speaks up against their crazy king. Unfortunately all it gets him is a death sentence. Luckily he is able to escape through a gateway to another world. Unluckily, it is another world his king has already discovered, one that is being used as a training ground for Sharazad, the king's lover, and her army of Daggers.

Now the people of Pilgrim Valley are caught between a General trying to prove herself in battle and the mysterious wall that has stood for as long as they can remember. Beyond the wall there is rumored to be a land of demons ruled by an evil whore queen.

The only chance they have to survive may lie behind the wall. Unfortunately, to survive, Jon Shannow and Nu-Khasistra will have to come face to face with the awesome destructive force that destroyed both Atlantis and toppled the world into Armageddon.

The one thing I don't really like about this series so far: the books are too short! I find there were so many more aspects that could have been delved into, but the length of the book made it impossible. Sometimes the plot can feel too rushed with Shannow killing enemy after enemy - and I try not to be incredulous at how easily he survived both the Zealots last book and the trained Hunters (assassins) this book - with other equally possible interesting topics left unexplored.

Trying not to give too much away when I say that there were aspects that I don't normally like in sci-fi or fantasy, that were dealt with reasonably well here. Big plus for me.

I also like that not every character's actions are predictable. Sure, sometimes there are villains who are just a little bit too dumb, but most of the characters can take a turn for the surprising. And that's a good thing, because there's nothing worse - for me at least - then reading a book where you can predict the end by the time you finish the first chapter.

 Grade: B