A Greater Strength
Loner though he may be, Captain Vinyanel Ecleriast knows he cannot hope to accomplish his newest mission on his own. He and his comrades have managed to avert the disaster of their king’s abduction, but all is not well in the elven capital of Delsinon. Six precious Talismans of Passage slip farther from the elves’ grasp with each moment they contemplate a solution. Vinyanel’s superiors send him to reclaim what enemies have stolen.
He assembles an unlikely squadron and leads them from the back of his silver dragon mount and friend, Majestrin. Their guide: a rogue who once attempted Vinyanel’s assassination. A stealthy marksman, a bookish warrior who fights with grace, and a prophetess for wise (though sometimes annoying) spiritual guidance fill out the ranks.
The journey to the far reaches of the continent confronts Vinyanel with temptation, betrayal, and his own frailties, and all these threaten to unravel the mission. Acting as a vessel of justice is easy – but mercy? That requires a far greater strength.
Book 2 of the The Windrider Saga series.
Review from R. E. Mills (from Amazon.com):
A Greater Strength is the second book in the Windrider Saga, and the better of the two. Here we crawl back into the mind of the grumpy elf warrior, Vinyanel Elcarest, and further his adventures as he finds himself on an official mission of damage control after the events of Divine Summons. A mission that includes characters old and new astride the beasts of the very first Windrider battalion on their way through distant lands and vast geographies to recover what was lost. In book one. You read that right? Becaue you should.
I don’t usually go in for books about elves, so I was iffy about the Windrider books. But I gave them a shot, and I’m so glad I did.
I enjoyed A Greater Strength even more than Divine Summons. For one thing, it’s longer, and the conflicts between the characters have more depth and scope (like the bickering between Vinyanel and Veranna). Or the conflict between Vinyanel and the Major, which never quite resolves (other than it coming out that the Major is probably a nicer guy than Vinyanel).
This story takes us on a quest for the six missing talismans of the elves. Led by a snarky, sarcastic mercenary who already took at shot at Vinyanel, they go on a tour of the world in search of the people who bought the talismans, and lots of adventures result. Did I mention that they’re riding a dragon, a winged lion, a pegasus, and a griffin?
Along the way they meet gnomes, other dragons, and a mysterious slave-girl with ulterior motives.
As in book 1, the religion of the elves is kept firmly within the realm of fantasy, although there’s one scene that does come off a mite preachy. But this story deals with what it means to wield divine power, and yet still be plagued with mortal weaknesses (like a lust for hot women). It escapes being heavy-handed by simply being honest about the characters and what they say and think.
All in all, Greater Strength is a light, entertaining read. I look forward to more stories with Vinyanel and his dragon Magistrin.