In the fourth and final installment of the Troy Game series by Australian author Sara Douglass, the participants in the ancient Troy Game will finally reach the end of the road, with humanity either triumphant or utterly destroyed.
To set the stage and understand this incredibly complex novel, a little background information is necessary. The Game, a magical, labyrinthine spell that captured evil and protected the great cities of the ancient Aegean world, required a Mistress and a Kingman of the Labyrinth to create it. It was destroyed thousands of years ago by Ariadne, the greatest Mistress who ever lived and the sister of Asterion, the minotaur at the center of the Labyrinth. However, she left one version of the Game intact and set into motion events that would forever change the world - and the lives of a few unfortunate souls. Brutus, a Kingman of the Labyrinth, and Cornelia, a young girl who was a pawn of the Game, landed in the British Isles and recreated the Game there with Ariadneís descendant Genvissa.
That was thousands of years ago. Move ahead to the Battle of Britain during World War II. Brutus, Cornelia, and Genvissa, along with the other key players, have all been reincarnated many times over and are all still deeply connected to the Game. But instead of trying to finish it to protect London, they are trying to destroy it. The Game was infected with evil and is doing everything in its power to get Brutus and Cornelia - now Jack Skelton and Noah - to finish it and give it full power. But the Game is fighting back and has brought the Nazi attack to Englandís shores.
Asterion, the sinister villain of the first two books (Hadesí Daughter and Godsí Concubine) reformed somewhat and married Noah in Darkwitch Rising, book three. Their daughter, Grace, is perhaps the biggest victim of them all Ė she was bound to the fate of the game. If they destroy it, they destroy her.
Jack, Noah, Asterion (now Weyland Orr) and Grace, along with the Faerie and other fey characters, are united in their hatred of the Game and powerless to do anything about it. Should they succeed in unwinding the Game, they risk losing Grace to its malevolence. But if they fail, all humanity will suffer for eternity.
Sara Douglass writes with great flair, an amazing attention to detail, and a creative mind that will entrance readers of fantasy fiction. Her intricate, epic plots are impossible to second-guess, and every page in the book leads to what can only be a shocking conclusion. This book, unlike many other concluding works satisfies on all levels. The writing is as top-notch as the very first, the characters have had centuries to grow and develop, and at no point is the plot predictable. She credibly entwines fantasy with history, and the Gameís manipulation of Hitlerís army for its own purposes makes one shudder to think about what would have happened if World War II hadnít been won by the Allies. The ending is perfectly done, giving closure to a plot that has developed over four books and making readers extremely happy that they made the journey.