Sergey Dyachenko & Marina Dyachenko
Tor, 2012 (2012)
Reviewed by Wanda Plourde
gert is what all soldiers aspire to be - handsome, an elite member of the guard, and knowing no fear. Of course his ego is right up there too, especially when it comes to the ladies. He loves to pull pranks, loves to skirt danger, and refuses to take no for an answer.
ne day, coming out of a tavern, he spies a young couple - a beautiful girl accompanied by a student who carries no sword. Egert wants her and intends to have her even though she seems unavailable. The enraged student challenges Egert to a duel and is killed. A man in a grey cloak (the
) who witnesses what happens, also duels Egert. He leaves Egert with a vicious scar upon his face - and a curse goes along with it.
he curse is that of cowardice. Now Egert fears everything that crosses his path; danger leaves him cowering in a corner. He can't even take his own life for his hands tremble with terror. Humiliated, filled with self loathing, and torn from everything he knows, Egert embarks on a journey to seek a cure for the curse, even if that means battling his own demons and making a wrong right again.
hat an interesting fantasy this is, its antihero rather like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, overcoming all odds, and finding everlasting love, though with a very high price to pay. I found it very moving, pulling on the emotions throughout- you will hate Egert, love him, get mad, and possibly even feel sad for him. I enjoyed
very much and will be looking for any other novels by its authors.
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