The Boundary – the prison of the terrible Darklord, Lorthas – is weakening. It's imperative that the races be warned and new alliances forged before the world is plunged again into the darkness of a war that can't be won by any of the races alone.
In order to ally his people with the Elves, Jeran, a ward of King Mathis and heir to the honors and titles of House Odara, travels with Lord Iban, Commander of the King's guard, and Prince Martyn as an emissary. Their overt mission is to reestablish trade into the Aelvin Forest; Jeran's covert mission is to warn the Emperor about the weakening of the boundary and elicit the commitment of both Aelvin warriors and Magi in the imminent war.
Meanwhile, Dahr, Jeran's adoptive brother, has been denied entrance to Aelvin lands because he is a member of a third race, the Garun'ah, who have a long-standing feud with the Elves. Dahr feels he has a chance at securing an alliance with his people despite knowing nothing of their ways. He sets out for Garun'ah lands with a handful of soldiers and only a vague idea of how to find the wildmen he doesn't understand.
Each of the young men has much to learn about who they are. They also each have secrets to keep that could destroy not only their fragile negotiations but their very lives.
This is a much better book than the first one in the series. Path of Glory had a sense of having been written piecemeal – as if the author knew how he wanted it to start and knew how he wanted it to end, but wasn't sure exactly how to get from point A to point B. With >Sword of Honor, Bret Funk's writing is much smoother, more fluid, and more cohesive.
That's not to say it was entirely without fault. Funk makes a few glaring errors that could have been avoided with careful, independent editing. For instance, one of the members of the embassy to the Elves is fat. He is described, repeatedly, as corpulent – never fat, rotund, obese, stout or portly. The use of an unexpected adjective can certainly add to the texture of a novel. However, overuse of the same descriptive words seems amateurish and actually detracts from the writing instead of adding to it. Sometimes fat should just be fat.
In spite of still having room for improvement, this book is very entertaining. The overarching themes – overcoming differences, self-doubt, good versus evil – are universal. The storylines, while not overly simplistic, are simple enough to follow and should appeal to both young and more experienced readers.
Unfortunately, I don't know when I will have the opportunity to continue reading this series and watching the development of a promising young writer. Bret Funk and his publishing company Tyrannosaurus Press are both based in New Orleans and were affected by Hurricane Katrina. According to tyrannosauruspress.com, all the on-hand inventory of books one and two were destroyed in nearly six-foot floodwaters. Files for the books were saved, but for a fledgling author and upstart publishing company, Katrina was a devastating if not fatal blow. Sales of Path of Glory and Sword of Honor have been suspended, and release of Book III, Jewel of Truth – originally scheduled for release by the end of the year – has been postponed indefinitely.
I offer all my best wishes for a speedy recovery from the devastating losses suffered by Funk and Tyrannosaurus Press. This is a series worthy of being read, and I hope to hear that things are back on track soon.