The Desert Spear - fear and pain can only touch you if you let them.
As the book's title implies, book two of the Demon Cycle series focuses a bit more on the people that live in the desert city of Fort Krasia, also known as The Desert Spear. These battle hardened warriors have fought against the demons for hundreds of years and have created a society, and a religion, completely around that endeavor. Ahmann Jardir, the Krasian who we know well from his interactions with Arlen in the first book, is now elevated into a PoV character and his back story is explained in great detail. Context is given to his rapid rise to power among his people as well as the extreme actions that he took in book one where Arlen was concerned.
Initially this switch in focus is off-putting as all of the main characters from The Warded Man are absent from the first third of the book. Eventually the story merges Ahmann's tale into the lives of Arlen, Leesha, and Rojer and then things really start to build up. Jardir's betrayal of Arlen has shaped the course of both of their lives and the consequences of that act are extremely far reaching. As the trajectory of their lives start to converge again it is easy to see how an epic confrontation is in their future. Both men are hailed as the new Deliverer by their respective peoples and despite their many differences they both seek the same goal - total eradication of the demon hordes. Each pursues this objective in their own way.
Speaking of the demons, they too have taken notice of the rise in the demon-killing prowess of both of these men and a new class of demon is introduced and dispatched to kill them both. These mind demons are partnered with a mimic demon that can switch forms as needed and neither of these supposed Deliverers is aware of the threat that now stalks them. This hunt goes on silently in the background while both men elevate their own demon-fighting prowess and the abilities of those around them.
The overall story remains compelling and seeing two unique cultures approach the demon threat in different but similar ways makes for a great story. Mankind is on the brink of extinction and still the cultural difference between two cultures is as much of a threat to human survival as the demons themselves. Peter V. Brett lets the reader experience all of this from the point of view of multiple interesting characters, each of which must re-evaluate their own beliefs and desires to find a way to be successful in an ever more complex world. Both Ahmann Jardir and Renna Tanner from the first book are elevated in stature with interesting, and often heart wrenching, story lines.
For audiobook fans Pete Bradbury delivers another excellent performance and this series is certainly enhanced by his reading.