Blood of Ambrose
I believe that Blood of Ambrose is James Enge’s debut novel; though he was an established body of short fiction. As such about the first quarter of the book was a bit of a rocky start, at least for me, but I stuck with it and I’m very glad I did. Blood of Ambrose opens as King Lathmar flees his own palace to avoid his so-called Protector from there it follow his exploits as he attempts to regain his throne and then consolidate his power over the city of Ontil. It is a bit more than that since, as is revealed early on, Lathmar’s “grandmother” is the ancient sorceress Ambrosia; daughter of Merlin whose brother Morlock is the Master of all Makers and wielder of a cursed magic sword (that curse’s nature is never fully revealed). Pyr is a little better at the “basic” description than I am:
Behind the king’s life stands the menacing Protector, and beyond him lies the Protector’s Shadow…
Centuries after the death of Uthar the Great, the throne of the Ontilian Empire lies vacant. The late emperor’s brother-in-law and murderer, Lord Urdhven, appoints himself Protector to his nephew, young King Lathmar VII and sets out to kill anyone who stands between himself and mastery of the empire, including (if he can manage it) the king himself and his ancient but still formidable ancestress, Ambrosia Viviana.
When Ambrosia is accused of witchcraft and put to trial by combat, she is forced to play her trump card and call on her brother, Morlock Ambrosius—stateless person, master of all magical makers, deadly swordsman, and hopeless drunk.
As ministers of the king, they carry on the battle, magical and mundane, against the Protector and his shadowy patron. But all their struggles will be wasted unless the young king finds the strength to rule in his own right and his own name.
That last paragraph is the most important one and, in truth, is a more accurate reflection of the majority of the novel. While its basic plot, Lathmar’s rise to power, remains intact Blood of Ambrose takes on a much larger scope involving a major magical threat without ever managing to grow too complex. Flying horses, mechanical spiders and zombies Blood of Ambrose has them all and is one crazy, highly entertaining, wild ride. It isn’t without it’s problems but they pale in comparison to the amount of pure fun that this novel provided. Read on for details…
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