Age of Swords - getting ready for the war.
After giving us some insight into the cultures of the humans and elves in book one, this time around we learn a lot more about the dwarves. War is coming for the Rhunes (humans) and they are ill prepared to fight the elves for many reasons. Already 3 dahls (settlements) have been destroyed, including Dahl Rhen, and new chieftain Persephone finds herself leading her refugees toward Dahl Tirre. It is there that she hopes to summon all the clan chieftains together in order to elect a single ruler, known as a Keenig, to start fighting back. It is this process that exposes the many problems facing the humans, first and foremost of which is that they have very inferior weapons to the elves. This is where the dwarves come in, but unfortunately for Persephone and the other Rhunes the dwarves don't like them and gaining their help is not going to be easy.
There are three main story lines that run throughout this book and two of them involve the individuals and factions vying to be in control on both the human and elven sides of the upcoming conflict. Persephone wants Raithe to be chosen Keenig but unfortunately for her Raithe is not interested in the role, and he believes they can't win the war with their current weapons. Elven swords can cut right through human ones so why even bother to fight? While the other clan chieftains argue about who should be the Keenig, Persephone decides to solve the weapon problem by cutting a deal with the dwarves. The dwarves have offered to provide her with weapons superior to the elven ones if one of Persephone's refugees, Arion, destroys an ancient evil that inhabits their old underground city. Since Arion is a Miralyith elf she has the ability to use powerful sorcery and the dwarves believe she can accomplish what they can't. Of course if they are wrong that would result in one less elf in the world, which means it is a win-win for them.
The quest to the ancient dwarven city becomes the main focus as Persephone's band of women shows they are far more capable than the men give them credit for. While I enjoyed the overall story arcs in this book, the one thing that stands out as a major distraction is the pace at which team Persephone advances human civilization. In the course of a few months they invent the wheel, the bow and arrow, and the ability to write. To make matters worse they use all of these advances to great effect immediately upon discovery and Sullivan's attempt to make it seem plausible was clumsy at best. I had to focus on the larger story arcs to stay engaged and I can only hope this theme does not continue forward into the rest of the books.
Tim Gerard Reynolds continues to do an excellent job on the narration and his performance makes listening a very enjoyable experience.