Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fortress of Mist by Sigmund Brouwer

In the second book of this series, we find Thomas of Magnus going about the daily routine of a typical king. However, he feels a gnawing in his bones that something isn’t quite right. The air around him screams of him being watched and he cannot find seclusion even in his own thoughts. This troubled king hopes for peace but knows that it will cost him dearly in the end.

He is haunted by the loss of Isabella who he developed feelings for prior to her death. Thomas hopes to see his missing friend Katherine again who helped him claim his throne without even one loss of life. While on the verge of trying to figure out a mystery involving his love Isabella, he is forcibly thrust into an unwelcomed and unexpected war with the Scots as demanded by the Earl of York. Unfortunately, he must leave his city while his reign is enshrouded in uncertainty in order to keep favor with the Earl and not invite further danger to his already shaky rule.

Faced with being the new kid among the battle-hardened lords of the regions that are under the Earl of York, Thomas must prove himself to be capable of not only of fighting this war, but ultimately turning the tide in this battle. He faces betrayal on all sides without having one friend to protect or give him good advice as everyone else is watching him closely to see how he will handle all these trials and hardships. His resolve and heart are put to the test once again. He never seems to get a break as he fights one battle after another in order to stay alive not only in the camp but also in the real battle with the Scots.

One good thing that comes from the conflict with the Scots was the opportunity to discover true identity of his enemy. He learns that they call themselves Druids and they are dark priests that live on the isle of the Celts. They overthrew the old rulers of Magnus and are determined to regain control. Thomas is now beginning to unravel the mystery behind the Druids and the ways in which they impose and keep their rule of oppression over the people in his city. He is more determined than ever to ensure that Magnus doesn’t fall to their evil ways, and that he remains king of the city that was once ruled by his parents.

Even though Thomas is ultimately left to fight this war with the Druids on his own, hope is still alive in the form of another group who is keeping a close eye on him. This other group hides themselves just as well as the Druids, but they do offer help to Thomas when he is in dire need of it. They are known as the Immortals. They will not reveal themselves until Thomas has made his choice of whether or not to join the Druids. If Thomas decides not to join the latter, they will show themselves to him and become his allies. He can win this battle with their help, but the choice as always lies with Thomas.

This is a fast-paced novel, jam-packed with all the essential elements of a wonderful story. I got lost in the writing and found myself walking next to Thomas, wishing that I could tell him not to lose heart. I sometimes forgot that these were just fictitious characters and not the people that I became friends with during the reading of this book. It was disheartening when I read the last word in this magical tale, knowing that a large pause awaits me before finding out what happens next. I hope with all of my heart that the series will end with Thomas finding out who his friends really are and that he is not alone. I dream of the day that his eyes will be opened and Thomas will perceive what I am beginning to see and understand — that he is surrounded by hope and love.

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