Book Reviews of In the Red Lord's Reach (Tales of Alaric the Minstrel, Bk 2)

In the Red Lord's Reach (Tales of Alaric the Minstrel, Bk 2)
In the Red Lord's Reach - Tales of Alaric the Minstrel, Bk 2
Author: Phyllis Eisenstein
ISBN-13: 9780451160737
ISBN-10: 0451160738
Publication Date: 7/1/1989
Pages: 268
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 3 ratings
Publisher: Penguin Putnam
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
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reviewed In the Red Lord's Reach (Tales of Alaric the Minstrel, Bk 2) on + 95 more book reviews
Reviewer: not4prophet (North Carolina)
I always try to back up my opinions of books with clear reasons. This review will have to be somewhat of an anomaly, because I know there's something wrong with "In the Red Lord's Reach", though I don't quite know what it is. The beginning finds Alaric traveling northward, where he enters the valley of the Red Lord. After finding and rescuing an innocent torture victim in the lord's castle, he falls in with a band of outlaws, then joins some deer-herding nomads on the arctic plains. The Red Lord himself is a total blank, torturing and killing for no reason. The book might have survived such an uninspired stock villain, however, since he's only 'on-screen' for about ten pages.

I think the big problem with this book is the long middle section. We see Alaric joining the nomads, hobnobbing with one chief, hobnobbing with a different chief, taking a trip to the north pole to collect flowers, fighting some young ruffians, and much more. Still and all, it doesn't build up to an overwhelming story. In "Born to Exile", everything clearly reflected the book's central theme. This book has the same theme, and a similar ending, but the middle part is meandering and it's less clear why Alaric can't fit in.

Nevertheless, the writing is still strong and succinct. The scenes are constructed carefully, and flow by without contradictions. Eisenstein is one of the better and more original fantasy writers of the last thirty years, and all of her books are worth a look.