THE HOUNDS OF AVALON: THE DARK AGE 3 (GOLLANCZ S.F.) Paperback – 2005
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Magic and technology work side by side, as the world continues to spiral towards eternal winter and eradication of all life.
There are more mysteries and myths to untangle with time running out as the opposition becomes stronger.
This book also brings back Laura, Ruth and Shavi of the original five but Ryan and Jack seem to have become myths themselves.
There is a lot of action but it is well paced and for the Trilogy of Trilogies fan it will not disappoint but leaves you eager to start the next set Kingdom of the Serpent.
As mankind is on the precipice of extinction, the potential for survival has diminished much further for the Void has emerged. The Void lives for all other essences even its armies to die. Desperately trying to regroup and find a resolution to prevent the Void from nullifying all life, the British government leaders try a Hail Mary ploy by going after one of the Brothers and Sisters of the Dragons. They abduct Mallory to use as their counter weapon against the forces of the Void. However, in their naivety they leave behind a critically wounded and perhaps dying Sophie; weakening the already waning strength of the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons. With insider help, Mallory escapes and joins his brethren in a last stand against first the Void's invincible armies and if miraculously successful and still somehow alive then they will battle against the Void; human existence is at stake.
The final The Dark Age fantasy is a great ending to a complicated mythos as the world appears to be blinking out. The story line is fast-paced from the onset while the focus is somewhat different from that of its predecessors (see Devil in Green and Queen of Sinister) as the reader obtains a deeper look at pillars of civilization like government imploding. The Void is a terrific unique end of life essence as it devours the world with only the Dragon siblings sort of like a team of David (or the fantastic Four against Galactus) the only slim prayer. To appreciate fully the Chadbourne Dark Age, readers need to start at the beginning; it is worth the journey.
Anyway, this was good, and more in the vein of the third novel of his 'first' trilogy. However, the ending perhaps cheesily sets up yet another likely to be trilogy about what happened to Church from the first 3 novels, when he went back into the past. That was a bit annoying. Presumably that will hopefully end the whole thing back in the present time.
Mark Chadbourn, however, has sunk to new depths in his series The Dark Age. The three books ("The Devil in Green," "The Queen of Sinister" and "The Hounds of Avalon", all published by Pyr and all $16) chronicle an Earth in collapse, as suddenly all the demons and devils of myth and magic have come to life, destroying the world as we know it.
The various heroes battle their way through plenty of blood and trauma, with minor characters sacrificing themselves left and right to save humanity, and the protagonists going through torture and despair. Chadbourn does toss in a few pages of respite here and there, but for the most part, it's the overpowering forces of evil crushing tiny sparks of good for three straight books.
But then, as we finally wind down in the last great battle, with the icy winter of the last days combining with millions of undead intent on destroying all human beings, Chadbourn shows us the door to redemption - but never walks through it. That's right, after three full books, there is not a single moment of triumph. There is the promise of some (and it's conceivable Chadbourn will write about it in another trilogy), but it's never delivered. So readers, after suffering along with the several heroes (some left over from the previous trilogy, The Age of Misrule), get nothing for their efforts but a doorway full of light - and that's not close to being enough reward for me.