John Marco, author of the muscular Tyrants and Kings series, departs from the lands of Nar and Lucel-Lor with The Eyes of God--a sprawling juggernaut of high fantasy filled with political intrigue, fairy-tale wonder, flawed heroes, and sympathetic villains. Changing tactics from his Nar books, Marco opens The Eyes of God not with a battle scene but with a peace offering. The young king of Liiria--Akeela the Good--and his champion Lukien, The Bronze Knight, ride into the lands of their ancient enemy Reec to make peace. To seal the deal, Akeela takes a Reecian princess as his Queen, and the stage is set for a full helping of betrayal and woe.
Marco's tale of Akeela and Lukien and the love that destroys them both begins with a deceptively sentimental and occasionally maudlin first act. But just when the reader thinks he or she has inadvertently stumbled into a bodice ripper, Marco brings the hammer down and his idyllic Kingdom of Liiria is twisted without remorse into a decaying kingdom with madness on its throne. Despite some cliché dialogue and a few loose plot ends, this is no lightweight book. Marco's characters are complex and multidimensional, and his seemingly simple story is a rich, complex exposition of high fantasy with an underlying brutal reality. This brutality is punctuated with Marco's skill as a military writer--like his Nar books, the battle scenes in The Eyes of God are massive in scale while remaining rich in exquisite, personal detail. --Jeremy Pugh [via]