David Eddings' fantasy career began with Pawn of Prophecy in 1982, opening his massive Belgariad sequence. This omnibus collects the 1992-4 Tamuli trilogy: Domes of Fire, The Shining Ones and The Hidden City, totting up to 1,429 pages of slick storytelling. Following from the Elenium trio (1989-91), this takes hardbitten knight Sparhawk, his feisty queen and wife and various companions--including a terminally cute Child Goddess--to the hard-pressed Tamul Empire. Here a revolutionary movement is reanimating ancient warriors and horrors, while treason runs riot in the civil service, and at least one of this world's many gods is secretly behind it all.
Sparhawk must recover that all-powerful talisman the Bhelliom, which at the end of the Elenium was hurled into the depths of the sea. Quirky political manoeuvres and plausible battles abound. Eddings is a fluent storyteller whose humour, banter and unfaltering narrative flow conjure entertainment from highly familiar plot devices. The sense of danger is muted, though: spear-carriers may perish in their thousands while villains are sentenced to burn eternally, but major goodies bounce back from fatal injuries (even a stab in the heart) thanks to epic mercy dashes and healing magic. This is cheerful comfort reading and is a long, and undemanding, enjoyable fantasy. --David Langford