The Twisted Citadel, by Sara Douglass

The army marched its way to the doors of Elcho falling, and Maximilian and Ravenna saw, as if they stood only feet away, the man of darkness reach forward and pound his fist on the gates.
They will not open for him, said Maximilian.
They shall, said Ravenna.
The gates shrieked, and opened, and Maximilian saw Ishbel creep forth on her hands and knees, weeping.
The man of darkness reached down to her and lifted her left had, and Maximilian saw the Queen’s ring gleaming on Ishbel’s fourth finger.
:You have delivered to me Elcho Falling,” said the man of darkness to Ishbel, “and have sent its Lord into death. You have done well.”

As Ishbel and Maximilian, ride for Serpent’s Nest in the North to resurrect Elcho Falling, deep in the South the One is emerging form DarkGlass Mountain. He will stop at nothing to bring the downfall of Ishbel and Maximilian – and of Elcho falling. But The one is not the only enemy the pair have to face. Maximilian has command of a huge army, but within its ranks are traitors –those who don’t believe n him, and those who want to control Elcho Falling. Ravenna, who has been Maximilian’s friend, now seems to be against him. She has had a vision which shows Ishbel at the centre of Elcho falling’s demise – and if she can’t get Maximilian to believe her, then she will destroy him, too.

The Twisted Citadel is the second epic instalment in the DarkGlass Mountain trilogy and brings together the cast of its predecessor The Serpent Bride, though not all in the same alliances, as well as new characters, to continue the story of Elcho Falling and of Maxel (Maximilian) and Ishbel.

This is fantasy as it should be – with a well-defined world, an awesome cast of people and races, and twists and turn aplenty. Readers will be left wanting more – and eagerly waiting the third and final chapter of the story.


The Twisted Citadel (Darkglass Mountain)

The Twisted Citadel, by Sara Douglass
Harper Collins, 2008

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The Serpent Bride, by Sara Douglass

When Maximilian, King of Escator, finally finds an appropriate bride, he has some misgivings. Ishbel, his intended, hails from Serpent’s Nest, the home of the mysterious cult, The Coil. Indeed, Maximilian suspects that Ishbel is deeply involved with the Coil, though she professes merely to have been under their protection. Still, Maximilian knows he must marry Ishbel and, when he meets her, falls deeply in love with her. The marriage will not be an easy one, but it must take place.

Meanwhile, deep in the south, Isaiah, Tyrant of Isembaard, is massing an army, a massive invasion force to ride north. His generals believe that it is because he needs a victory to win their trust. But Isaiah, who is not all that he seems, knows that there is much more at stake than his rule over Isembaard.

Deep beneath Darkglass Mountain, something terrible is awakening, coming to the surface to destroy all life, all peace. Men who have been enemies and strangers must unite if the Lord of Elcho Falling is to restore any semblance of peace.

The Serpent Bride is the first in a new epic trilogy from Sara Douglass, best-selling author of previous titles including The Axis Trilogy, Threshold and Beyond the Hanging Wall. This new series brings together some of the characters of those earlier titles following a break of seven years. For those who have not read the earlier titles, The Serpent Bride does stand alone, though with so many viewpoint characters and changes in perspective it does take some concentration to keep track of who is who, especially in the case of some of the lesser characters.

This is an absorbing and intriguing fantasy read, with moments of hope and humour among some dark and challenging times. Readers will look forward to the second title in the trilogy to see where it goes next.

The Serpent Bride, by Sara Douglass
Voyager 2007