The Boundary. The greatest feat of magic in the history of Madryn. An impenetrable barrier raised to imprison the Darklord Lorthas and bring an end to the centuries-long MageWar.
Now, the Boundary is weakening, and the Darklord once again threatens Madryn. At the request of Emperor Alwellyn, a delegation of Alrendrians is traveling to the legendary city of Lynnaei. While Prince Martyn, under the strict tutelage of the aging Lord Iban, seeks to resstablish trade the the reclusive Elves, Jeran Odata meets secretly with the Emperor, hoping to secure his aid in the coming war against the Darklord. And Dahr, barred access to the Aelvin forests, travels the wilds of the Tribla Lands in search of the Garun'ah, long time allies of Alrendria.
But the forces of evil have not been idle. Tylor Durange, exiled Prince of Ra Tachan, has returned to claim his throne; old enemies and new are taking advantage of the chaos; and even the Darklord - long though imprisoned behind the Boundary - has found a way to enter the minds of those most loyal to Alrendria.
Sword of Honor continues the adventure begun in Path of Glory. It is a tale of sacrifice, and an exploration of the true meanings of duty, truth, and honor.
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From Library Journal
This sequel to Path of Glory continues an epic tale that should appeal to fans of high fantasy and multivolume series. A good choice for most libraries.
From Baryon Magazine
In our review of Path of Glory, we compared it to The Lord of the Rings and Shannara, that comparison still holds with this volume, but Funk has shown his creativity in raising the standards and making this series stand apart and have a fresh appeal to the readers.
From Scifantastic Magazine
Sword of Honor is a rich, sweeping fantasy complete with detailed back stories and an impressive mythology all of its own.
A very engaging read!
For many years, the Boundary has protected the land of Madryn from the Darklord Lorthas, instigator of the debilitating MageWar. Now the Boundary begins to collapse, and few people remain to oppose the shadow that spreads across the land. A few bold individuals come forward to raise an army to fight the Darklord, while minions of the enemy also emerge to stake their claim on the world. This sequel to Path of Glory continues an epic tale that should appeal to fans of high fantasy and multivolume series. A good choice for most libraries.
Here is the second in the Boundary's Fall trilogy and once again, newcomer Bret Funk has shown that he can write Tolkeinesque fantasy like the best of them. Jeran has been sent, along with Prince Martyn to seek out the elves as allies in the coming war, and to reopen their trade route. His friend Dahr has gone to look for his people the Garun'ah and meanwhile the Boundary is weakening still further. Now it is thin enough for the Darklord Lorthas to get through and haunt the dreams of both young men, eager to tell his own tale of his fall from grace and try to get them on his side. As the pair continues to grow up and learn life's lessons the Duranges are planning something major…
There is a lot of reading in this book; at just over 500 pages it is a modest length by fantasy standards but intense. This is a good thing, as it shows that more than just action happens in these pages and just like the first volume this is one of those books where the characters seem very real. It tends to be absorbing even when not much is happening as there are lovely descriptions of the forest city of the elves to enjoy, or the native American style lives of the Garun'ah and the various doings of the characters. It could stand a little editing, but not too much or a good deal of its essential charm would be lost; this is not a book to read for the adventures and action alone.
Much has been made by the publishers of the author's insistence on "gray" rather than black or white characters and a sense of realism, and although this can be said of parts of the book I felt that it can equally be said of a lot of other good fantasies too. So, this is not as unique as all that. This book has its share of black and white characters too; more than the first part I would say. Bret Funk has much to say about the value of honor, and of getting along with other races but don't think that this is a sermon in fantasy guise as truly what this book amounts to is one of the better books in this genre around today. I do hope that Bret Funk goes on to write many more books…and book three is not too long in coming!
From Scifantasic Magazine
In this second book of the Boundary’s Fall series, Jeran and Dahr have grown up. In fact, so has just about everything else in this novel; from prose to plot. The naivety inherent in many debut novels was not present in Sword of Honor as it was with Path of Glory, leaving you to simply enjoy the book, which goes thus:
With the magical Boundary that imprisons the evil Darklord Lorthas weakening, Jeran and Dahr are on a mission to reunite the Four races of Madryn to warn them of the coming threat. As well as their respective physical journeys (Dahr intends to seek out the passionate Garun’ah tribe and Jeran is on his way to warn the haughty elves), both are also on journeys of self discovery. With the help of the Aelvin Emperor, Jeran begins to master his fledgling gift and Dahr, who is half Garun’ah, hopes to find himself and his true nature amidst his own kind.
Sword of Honor is a rich, sweeping fantasy complete with detailed back stories and an impressive mythology all of its own. The time spent in the imaginative, glittering Aelvin city of Lynnaei is true escapism as the humans and the elves begin, impossibly, to put aside their marked differences and work towards becoming allies.
The only place the novel falls down somewhat is when you start to realize that there is not going to be a huge arc or climax (read battle) about two thirds of the way through. Happily, since you only realise this after you get two thirds of the way through, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the book.
As with the Two Towers then, this sequel is definitely an ‘in between’ sort of book. It sets up the third installment and leaves you with a truly gripping and exciting cliff-hanger – and no, I can’t tell you what that is! Sword of Honor combines myth and magic, good and evil, intrigue and even star-crossed interracial love stories – a real pleasure to read.
Picking up the saga that he wonderfully began in his first book, Path of Glory, Bret Funk jumps right back into the story of the races of Madryn as they attempt to hold back their mortal enemy Lorthas and his minions both inside and outside The Boundary. Sword of Honor follows the split companions as they follow their separate, yet interdependent adventures that they were embarking upon at the conclusion of the first book. Funk continues his captivating story though a writing style that keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Similar to his last work, Sword of Honor is a dense five hundred plus page tale of intrigue, adventure, and coming of age.
One of the strengths of this young author is the way he spins a story while doing strong background descriptions. He does a great job of explaining various cultures and the inner workings of magic without a boring recitation. The ability to describe the way of life of both the elves and Garun’ah as well as how they interact with each other and the humans was the key to the story. The author is able to continue setting the stage for the climactic battle that is building between the forces that wish to enslave the continent of Madryn and those that would remain free.
Following in the tradition of many other companion-style quests set in a mythical world of magic, the author does a nice job of juggling his groups of characters as they each work towards their individual tasks. We are able to follow Jeran and Prince Martyn as they make their way towards the elves and develop relations with this reclusive race. We are also able to follow Dahr and the guardsmen that he leads as they seek out the Garun’ah in an attempt to warn them of the approaching danger. And perhaps most interestingly, we are able to finally get a glimpse of Lorthas and learn some of the feelings that drive him. As in the first volume, it is refreshing to encounter a foil that is not a caricature of evil, but foes that seem to have some dimension to them. There is little further development of the Durange brothers, but this tale does bring us into closer contact with the Darklord that they follow.
I was particularly drawn to the way in which the various beliefs and social systems of the differing races was explored. This is sometimes a difficult task for any author, and here it is handled masterfully. A very nice touch was the way in which both the elves and Garun’ah explained their versions of the story of the gods. This was used to show that the races had similar beliefs, but slightly different interpretations and ways of living to the standard of their own god.
This story goes a long way towards showing the growth in stature, maturity, and leadership that the three young men are making as they strive towards meeting the growing threat to the world that they cherish. All are forced to make choices that are far from perfect, but that test their honor as well as their hearts. The story ends on a bit more of a cliffhanger than the preceding novel, and I for one am very eager to see how the tale turns out.
If you have not given Path of Glory a chance, I recommend you do so. Once you do, I’m sure you’ll want to dive right into Sword of Honor as it is of the same quality. This is a really entertaining story told through the eyes of genuine characters that allow you to root for them and become invested in how the story ends. A very engaging read!
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Bret M Funk