Eskendria's allies have deserted it and its mountain passes are terrorised by a nest of brigands led by their enigmatic leader, Celedorn - the greatest swordsman in the kingdom and a man with such a savage reputation that even the minions of the enemy are afraid of him.
As a final resort, Relisar, the last of the Sages, attempts to summon the champion predicted in an ancient prophesy to save the Kingdom in its darkest hour. But alas, age has diminished Relisar's powers and all he manages to summon is one ragged girl who can remember nothing about herself, not even her name.
The king, desperate to avoid a battle on two fronts, sends his eldest son, Andarion, to deal with the threat from the mountains, but he is facing no ordinary adversary in Celedorn and his plans go badly awry. The confrontation in the mountains sets in train a series of unexpected events that lead to Relisar, Andarion, Celedorn and the girl with no name finding themselves on a perilous journey across the Forsaken Lands in a race against time both to save themselves and Eskendria.
Yet no human being has crossed these lands in a thousand years and all that is known about them is merely legend. Are the rumours true that fragments of the Old Kingdom live on, hidden from the Destroyer? Are the stories about ancient and evil spirits haunting the forests only myth?
As for the companions, who is the girl with no name? And most of all, what is the dreadful secret that Celedorn is hiding that could affect the fate of the Kingdom?
I really enjoyed the book and I finished it in one sitting. The story, whilst not original, was well written. The author has talent in characterisation and world building. It was so easy to close my eyes and picture the characters and their environment.
The book is fast paced and moves along nicely. I never once felt like I was reading through syrup.
One minor point of disconcert I found was the heavy reference to LOTR. I know most fantasy books nowadays are in some part influenced by the holy grail, but there were two scenes in The Crystal Chalice that were a touch too similar. I'm not going to describe them but if you do read the book then it'll be easy to spot.
Fans of fantasy who like a dose of romance will enjoy this book. I had a great time reading the book, and I'm hopeful there will be a sequel coming soon. I'll definitely be keeping a close eye on the author.
Out of 10 Stars:
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