Nagash Immortal: The Time Of Legends by Mike Lee. Book review

NAGASH IMMORTAL: THE TIME OF LEGENDS by Mike Lee, Black Library, p/b, £7.99, www.blacklibrary.com

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

In Nagash The Unbroken, the Undying King, and Necromancer, Nagash had just got started with his plans to usurp and enthral those he called his enemies. In this, the final part of the trilogy in the Time of Legends series he wants to have his way, and sets his evil plans in motion. Early on, Lee reveals that Nagash had first lived when the land was rich and prosperous, but he had been forced to become a priest, and he hated it, loathing the gods, and rebelled against them. He had learned the techniques of necromancy from the druchii of the northern lands, and as such he used their knowledge and fused it with his own to create a cruel magic that would make him one of the most powerful, yet hated rulers of all time. Even his allies hate him and act as though they want to see his downfall. Bradagh and Diavid know they have come too far with Nagash controlling them to leave his side, and that is their burden. They do try to defy him, but Nagash puts them in their place all too often, and his anger grows until he is at the point where he threatens them with the ultimate punishment.

Nagash Immortal has references to Egyptian folklore, people and unusual arcane practises, with the mention of ushabtis, rituals and immortality. Lee gives a good account of what would occur if Nagash was left to ruin the land; and Nagash, it seems is loosely based on the former ruler, Imhotep. For those who have seen The Mummy, the haunting aspects of Nagash will feel very realistic as he is blight on the land that roams the desert plains.

As a character Nagash is in the background as he did in the previous novel. As it is Neferata and her prince Alcadizzar who steal the show, as they could be for either good or evil – it is their choice. Neferata has already had Alcadizzar go through the initiations, and has plans for him to build a temple, one he can admire when he becomes ruler of Khemri at her side. He has a mind to rebuild the city too, its docks and trade routes, but when he gets the message that the king is dead, and his family want him to come back to his home, he feels as though he is torn between his family and staying with Neferata. He wants to stay with her, and knows he has a place in her palace, and the final initiation ceremony where he can take his place as ruler is coming up.

The novel is more about Neferata and Alcadizzar, and has Nagash as the evil and terrible spirit who lies in wait until the right time has come to strike. As well as the usual dose of court politics, and the vows made by Naaima that Alcadizzar would blindly follow his queen could be made true. Lee not only successfully tells a strong story, he brings out the best in all the characters, the determination and the thrill of turning page after page hoping for more of the same. It is as exciting as it is dark.