Paul E. Horsman’s The Runemaster picks up where Shardfall left off—with Muus, Prince Ottil and Hraab in Brytanna, while Kjelle, Ajkell, and Birthe are heading to Gaul. Each group has its own task to perform: Muus to bring the skyshard to the Kalmanir, and Kjelle to stop the Gods Before from returning to the world, while avenging his father’s death. There’s also a third story line, following Jarl Rannar’s messengar, Tuuri. The author manages to keep all these plot lines going, and to add a seeming cast of thousands to the character list, without the reader becoming lost.
I enjoyed this book very much. There’s plenty of action to keep the reader turning the pages, (and quite a bit of grim dispatching of enemies with swords and axes, magic fire, heads on spikes, a poor soul with his heart ripped from their chest, etc.) and each character’s personal growth is handled with care. The new major characters all come with their own histories and personalities, and I enjoyed getting to know them. The magic (and there is much magic in this story) is plausible and the systems make sense. If I had a quibble, it would be the amount of unfamiliar words used. There were some in Shardfall, but they could easily be fathomed in context. Here, I found myself wishing that rather than a list of words at the back, that the author had footnoted the words on the page where they first appeared.
This is a fun story that will entertain all age groups from teens to adults.