The Wheel of Osheim. Book Review

wheelTHE WHEEL OF OSHEIM by Mark Lawrence
HarperVoyager, h/b, £14.99
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.

It is a simple task. Two more days. Two more days to guard his charges. Two more days to endure the desert and his tormenting burden, then home. The air is dry. The sand scorching. Then from the air a man, or perhaps a demon, flees another, bursting forth with foreign words and foreign problems. Tahnoon of the Ha’tari meets a Prince of Red March.

From one hell to another Jalan finds himself on desert sands under sweltering heat and the watchful eyes of the Ha’tari. Lucky for Jal it is not the first time he’s ridden a camel, nor the first time he has travelled the desert, so he dives into this next journey with as much feigned enthusiasm as the last. It is off to Hamada and a visit to the mathmagicians of his past.

A key. A brother in arms. A witch. A door. The Deadlands. The Builders Suns. The Wheel… The Undoreth know Ragnarok is coming. The world may end, whether Jalan Kendeth chooses it or not. With Snorri still in hell, haunted by those he has lost, could it be Jal has finally learned loyalty and to appreciate the bonds of friendship, or will his instinctive desire to save his own skin prevail?

The Lady Blue and her mirrors, the Silent Sister, and the Dead King have all played their parts in manipulating Prince Jalan throughout this saga, and this final book in the series brings us to the possible end of the world that the Builders set in motion so long ago. Armed only with Loki’s key, Jal draws near to the end of his journey, which began so long ago at the opera house. Finally we find out more of what the Builders were trying to accomplish and can begin to understand why and how it all went awry.

The Wheel of Osheim is firmly grounded in Lawrence’s world of The Broken Empire and fans of that series will be thrilled with this third installment of The Red Queen’s War. Once again we have a tale woven with dry wit and delivered in an expert manner, the lies Jalan has told himself over time cleverly unfolding to reveal the truth about his cowardice and the depth of his heroics.

A final note – which has probably been said before but certainly warrants being said again – the Author’s Notes at the start of each book in this series provide an exceptional recap of the story so far. We should definitely see more of these in modern fantasy, and delivered with such prowess.