Copyright Date: February 21, 2012
The amazon.com product description:
The action continues fast and furious in this third installment of Elizabeth Moon’s celebrated return to the fantasy world of the paladin Paksenarrion Dorthansdotter. This award-winning author has firsthand military experience and an imagination that knows no bounds. Combine those qualities with an ability to craft flesh-and-blood characters, and the result is the kind of speculative fiction that engages both heart and mind.Echoes of Betrayal is the sequel to Oath of Fealty and Kings of the North. And, it really does rely on Kings of the North in terms of the events that have occurred. This book picks up right where the last one left off. Personally, I found myself thinking "I really need to re-read Kings of the North" repeatedly as I was reading this book.
All is not well in the Eight Kingdoms. In Lyonya, King Kieri is about to celebrate marriage to his beloved, the half-elf Arian. But uncanny whispers from the spirits of his ancestors continue to warn of treachery and murder. A finger of suspicion has been pointed toward his grandmother, the queen of the Ladysforest elves, and that suspicion has only intensified with time and the Lady’s inexplicable behavior. Clearly, she is hiding something. But what? And why?
Meanwhile, in Tsaia, the young king Mikeli must grapple with unrest among his own nobility over his controversial decision to grant the title and estates of a traitorous magelord to a Verrakaien who not only possesses the forbidden magic but is a woman besides: Dorrin, once one of Kieri’s most trusted captains. When renegade Verrakaien attack two of Dorrin’s squires, suspicion and prejudice combine to place Dorrin’s life at risk—and the king’s claim to the throne in peril.
But even greater danger is looming. The wild offspring of a dragon are on the loose, sowing death and destruction and upsetting the ancient balance of power between dragonkind, humans, elves, and gnomes. A collision seems inevitable. Yet when it comes, it will be utterly unexpected—and all the more devastating for it.
All of the characters are back again, in all of the separate threads. Arvid, the thief who insists that he's not a thief is one of the most interesting, with everything that's happening to him. There's more with the Gnomes too. Not to mention the Dragon. He's certainly stirring things up throughout the North. Dorrin's got her own problems too, with the renegade members of her family. And of course, Kieri and his problems, although it's great to see that some things at least are working out well for him.
In amidst all of the current events, there's also all sorts of little tidbits regarding the history of the kingdoms and the various races that inhabit the lands too, which just add to the experience of reading Kings of the North.
As some of the problems from the previous books are solved, others are discovered, leaving a book that pulls the reader and won't let go until you've turned the last page. For me, that was at two thirty in the morning, and every page was worth it. I'm already waiting for the next book, and will consider the wait to be well worth it.
I honestly can't recommend this whole series highly enough! Thank you Elizabeth Moon for writing such an incredible series of books.