John Marco,
The Devil's Armor
(DAW, 2003)

The Devil's Armor is the epic sequel to The Eyes of God. It is also the type of book that I hate to try to review briefly. This book is 680 pages of interwoven subplots, and there is absolutely no way to do justice to the quality of the book or the pleasure of reading it. To provide even the most basic skeletons of all of these subplots would require the review to surpass 5,000 words.

I do recommend that you purchase the first book in this saga, The Eyes of God, and read it before beginning this one. It will keep everything in nice chronological order and provide the detailed background that leads up to this book. However, it is certainly not necessary for the understanding of this book.

Lukien was the most favored knight of Akeela the Mad, King of Liiria, until he betrayed the king and caused his death. Lukien has exiled himself to the southern desert, where he now serves as protector of Grimhold, a mountain fortress containing the Devil's Armor, created more than a millennium ago by a long-dead evil sorcerer. But is he really dead, or does his spirit live on in the armor, awaiting an innocent victim to become his puppet?

Meanwhile, Lukien's miraculously curative amulet, the Eyes of God (this is where reading the previous novel would be nice) has caused chaos as people overrun the land seeking miracles -- and bandits gather to prey on them. There is no safety to be found in the region.

As Lukien deals with various crises, the Diamond Queen, Jazana Carr, threatens to lead an invasion on Liiria. The few remaining Royal Chargers have sworn to protect their dead king's Cathedral of Knowledge, but confidence is fading fast and they know that it is only a matter of time until they fall into the hands of Jazana and her ruthless mercenaries.

I loved this book and found it was an ideal way to spend a couple of afternoons. The details are dramatic and the character development is strong. The way the author leads into the next book in the saga is really smooth and it makes you want to read that book immediately. He reaches a point of semi-stasis but still maintains the cliffhanger necessary to propel the reader into the next segment of the saga. He does not simply drop you abruptly and leave you wondering if the hero lives or dies like a couple of saga authors have done recently. This is one smooth book.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 5 June 2004

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