A war once held in the shadows now escalates into full-scale revolution in the second novel of Justin Lee Anderson’s epic Eidyn Saga.
The fog of war is lifted and the conspiracy at the heart of Eidyn finally exposed. Now that they know the truth, Aranok and his allies must find a way to free a country that doesn’t know it’s held captive. But with divided loyalties and his closest friendship shaken, can their alliance hold against overwhelming odds? The quest to retake the country begins here.
The Bitter Crown is the direct sequel to The Lost War, second book on the Eidyn saga (out of four books according to the author), written by Justin Lee Anderson, and published by Orbit Books. After the shocking ending of The Lost War, the fog over the conspiration is over, and recovering the control over Eidyn without provoking a new civil war; confronting king Janaeus requires planning each movement, and the loyalties are not clear.
We are back in Dun Eydin, but all is different after the revelation of how Janaeus changed the memories and usurped the throne of Mynygogg; Aranok is struggling with his loyalty, as for him, Janaeus was always a friend. The Blackening still needs to be stopped, but the answer is hidden behind sorceries and curses. In a bold movement, Mynygogg decides to split the group and send them to different places in the kingdom in order to stop Janaeus and avoid the war.
Anderson goes far from painting black and white characters, taking a more interesting route in my opinion, showing how all are nuances of grey; we can't be sure of the actual intentions of many of the characters, especially those that are still under the effects of Janaeus' spells. Allandria's arc is one of the most compelling, seeing her doubting which of her feels is just the effect of the memory trick or which is part of her.
Worldbuilding is less intensive than in book 1, taking advantage of the work done previously, but still explores unknown places for the reader alongside the new quest. The pacing is benefitted from this change, as Anderson takes the previous job to rather explore the characters' motivations and actions.
The Bitter Crown is the sequel that the SPFBO winning novel The Lost War deserved; at this point, I should vehemently recommend you to read this series if you like D&D based fantasy with excellently written characters.
Justin Lee Anderson
Justin was a professional writer and editor for 15 years before his debut novel, Carpet Diem, was published in 2015. He wrote restaurant and theatre reviews, edited magazines about football and trucks, published books about fishing and golf, wrote business articles and animation scripts, and spent four years as the writer, editor and photographer for an Edinburgh guide book.
Justin now writes full-time and is a partner in his own publishing company. He also writes scripts with his wife Juliet, who he met through the BBC Last Laugh scriptwriting competition.