As much as I enjoyed David Keck’s debut, I admit that it was a flawed effort so I was quite happy to see how improved the writing was in In A Time of Treason. Namely, the prose was more elegant, the descriptions better expressed, there was a lot more background information without the author relying on shameless infodumping, and overall Mr. Keck just displayed greater confidence as a writer.
Even so, the writing wasn’t perfect. There are still passages that are confusing and may require a re-read or two, the limiting third-person narrative is still in effect, and the plotting is a bit uneven.
On the flipside, the pacing is just as strong as last time — if anything In A Time of Treason is even more intense than In the Eye of Heaven — and the novel just exudes with ambiance. The story itself was a lot stronger too I thought. While In the Eye of Heaven was a fun and exciting read with its knights and its tournaments, the book felt like one of those summer action flicks — full of adventure, but lacking any real depth or soul. In A Time of Treason on the other hand is dealing with open war where the lives of thousands hang in the balance, not to mention weightier subplots like Durand being torn between loyalty for his master and the love he feels for his liege lord’s wife, King Ragnal’s stunning betrayal against his people, Radomor’s arrogant attempt at the throne, a traitor amongst Durand’s closest allies, and a sorcerous plot to free the Banished from their thousand-year-old bonds that goes farther back than anyone can imagine. In other words, there’s much more at stake this time around andIn A Time of Treasonreflects that with its darker and more atmospheric tone.
David Keck’s debut was one of those novels that shows off a lot of potential, but is fundamentally flawed by inconsistent writing, worldbuilding, and plotting. Still, if you can get past these problems then In the Eye of Heaven has much to offer like its unconventionalism, the harsh authenticity of the world, incredible action sequences, and a story that could appeal to fans of Glen Cook and David Gemmell. Even better, the sequel is more powerful, more thrilling, and more rewarding than its predecessor and is a major reason why I recommend giving In the Eye of Heaven a shot. I absolutely can’t wait to see how it all ends in A King of Cobwebs.
The Eye of Heaven — (2007-2008) Publisher: On the very day of his homecoming, the future of Durand Col is snatched out of his hands. He has trained a lifetime for lands he cannot have, and a role he cannot play. There is nothing for him but the road on the verge of winter. With this news ringing in his ears, Durand reels from his father’s stronghold into a realm in turmoil. It has been a year of war and whispers. There are signs in the Heavens, and spirits stalk the land. Plagued by omens, Durand struggles to make an honest place for himself in this old kingdom, lurching into the company of desperate knights, madmen, lost nations, and fallen heroes. While he finds no shining armor, he soon stumbles into murder and the opening of a civil war. Every step tangles him deeper in knots of treason, love, and betrayal. While Durand and his companions struggle to resolve their private fates, their kingdom is collapsing. Their private course, however, leads them into the heart of the collapse. With their blades drawn, they arrive at the day when their kingdom’s fate is decided. It is on this day that Durand must find the strength to face his own sins if he is to save his country…