Posted: April 8, 2017 in Book Reviews

The Cold Commands by Richard Morgan

481 Pages.

The Cold commands is the second book in A Land Fit for Heroes series by Richard Morgan, which if you saw or read my last review, The Steel Remains you know that I felt it is a series that did not start off very well and was not that great of a book, despite its glowing reviews.

Egar Dragonbane has taken up a job as personal body-guard to Archeth who is adviser to the Emperor. Egar learns that the citadel has hired Majak as guards which comes as surprise as this is outside the norm. He soon learns they are being set up to watch him and Archeth and begins an investigation into why the citadel is doing this. This of course does not go well and soon finds he is wanted for murder and is facing the possible death penalty.

Archeth receives a messenger simply referred to as the helmsmen. This messenger brings tidings to the Emperor about a mysterious hidden city in the far northern reaches of the ocean. This city and it’s inhabitants, the Helmsmen claims, is the greatest threat the Empire has ever seen and must be stopped. Archeth has begun preparations to launch an expedition to find this city to validate and verify the claims of this messenger.

Ringil has become what the empire considers to be a terrorist. He has been assaulting and destroying slave caravans and freeing slaves across the empire. This has caused him to become one of the most wanted men in the empire, dead or alive. Despite this he makes a deal with the Emperor to free his friend Egar from prison and his pending execution, but to do so he must fight the Citadel and Dwenda alone.

This book gets points for actually having a story line progress from the beginning rather than half way through which is an improvement over the last novel, the Steel Commands. There is a lot less focus on the characters sexuality, most notably Ringil’s. While there is still a little bit of that within this book it is relatively minor and does not detract or take from the primary story line of this book.  When considering the last book in this series, the Steel Remains this is a huge improvement and a good thing.

Ringil’s time in the grey place, (where the Dwenda come from), however seemed to be focused on visions, flashbacks etc.. of his life and friends and things they want and are asking of him. This aspect of the story did not seem to fit very well within the books at all. I could not really understand what purpose it filled or how it served its place in the story. It just seemed so disconnected and not related that I am not sure why it was there at all.

One thing that I noticed is that Ringil seems to be a dark sorcerer now. He is able to cast spells and form enchantments to blind and confuse his enemies. While really cool and typical in a fantasy novel Ringil’s powers just suddenly were a part of who he is with no explanation. In the first book The Steel Remains the book indicates a change that took place in his character but did not say what it was. This change seems to be the fact that he is a sorcerer now.

The problem here is that there is no apparent connection between his new abilities and the change that took place at the end of the last book. Ringil seems to use this magic as if he has always had this ability. This makes no sense to the reader as we really do not know how he went from having no magic to having magical abilities. Where did this ability come from? How did he get these powers? We can only assume it is connected to the change that took place from the previous book but there is no apparent connection within the story.

While this book was a big improvement overall from the first one it is still lacking in many ways and I am not sure If I want to continue with this series or not. I do find myself wanting to know how Archeths, Ringil and Egar’s expedition goes, however the writing does not give me much of a desire to purchase or read any further in this book series. For now at least whether I buy the next book, The Dark Defiles,  remains to be seen.

This book while an improvement upon The Steel Remains, I just do not feel improved enough to continue with the series at this time. I may go back to it at some future date, but not anytime soon

As there is some improvement I will give this book a slightly better rating, say about 5.3/10 book worms, but a long way to go to be considered a good book.


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