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The Warrior's Call (The Magic Circle Book 4)

Updated: Apr 1

by P. C. Darkcliff


Rating: *****

The final battle is on the horizon for Baard Thon and Company but the magical battleax, Tarroth, which can only be used by the Archmage to summon every hero, past and present, to fight against the Dark Overlord has been stolen from the Magic Circle palace. In the wrong hands, Tarroth’s power can bring about the end of days, for everyone and everything.  And, it’s in the wrong hands….


Darkcliff’s Magic Circle series just gets stronger*. The Warrior’s Call is first-rate and, as with all the books, shows branching maturity within the characters and the story.  It’s completely immersive and magically absorbing, enveloping the reader from the first page which is a testament to just how good Darkcliff’s writing is.


He never rests on his laurels and Book 4 also demonstrates this in abundance, taking the reader, and Baard, in a completely fresh, unexpected direction that is both exciting and credible. Just as the reader thinks Mr. Thon might be handed a break or smooth passage, Darkcliff lobs him another plot grenade and never really lets up.


The main drive of The Warrior’s Call is the theft of Tarroth by Count Paatyn, a silver-level mage who has turned traitor. Essentially, the reassuring framework of the previous novels is here; Baard undertaking a perilous journey to either reach or recover someone or something, in this case, Tarroth, and Darkcliff embroiders this fourth quest of Baard’s to perfection.


As before, there are nail-biting detours, suspense-laden derailments, and brilliantly choreographed set-piece action scenes together with the usual vivid and creative characters, new and old. All the non-human cast have fundamental emotions and motivations and, consequently, are relatable. Agyra is a supreme example of this and combined with her Dark Daughters she is a powerful addition to the narrative.


This is an incredibly accomplished novel, not only has Darkcliff’s wonderful world of fantasy become even more staggeringly imaginative and wondrously descriptive, but a real shrewdness and efficiency of plotting shines through the mythic mist. It’s a weighty tome but never feels as such, maintaining continuity and galloping along at a fluent, fast-moving pace.


Indeed, despite the genre, Darkcliff always anchors these books in complete plausibility. He also subtly shifts perspective, through the chapters, ensuring momentum and interest without any hint of authorial self-indulgence.


Baard’s trajectory continues with utmost believability. He has gained a little more confidence than in Book 3, realizing just how far he has come but with that self-awareness has come a deeper level of introspection.


Notwithstanding, he still considers himself to be winging it in most circumstances which adds to the drama for the reader. In this mission, he is mainly accompanied by Ufi and Mardok, both nicely familiar yet evolved, and Dhra’ack, his indispensable dragon.


Darkcliff maintains a tight circle with this outing, lending it sharper focus. There is not so much reliance on the characters from the previous novels, such as Al’Anark, the Tik’Haaney, and Sethric, although they do make appearances.


The fleeing Count Paatyn is accompanied by a one-armed Legionnaire, Arrez, and later, Nara, the servant girl. Nara’s story is considered and emotive, she could have been relatively one-dimensional but Darkcliff ensures she is well-rounded, becoming a poignant and pivotal figure toward the end.


Diara is present, literally in her own chapter, and figuratively in Baard’s mind. I am completely intrigued as to how Darkcliff is going to resolve, or not, their relationship, especially as Emeraine is still in attendance. Diara has advanced to become a reflective, complex character but Darkcliff ensures she still possesses the odd moment of her old light-heartedness.


Another thunderously entertaining and fantastically engrossing installment to the Magic Circle collection from a foremost fantasy writer. This series is an absolute must-read for fans of the genre.

 

*Click here for my review of The Wizard’s Blade (The Magic Circle Book One)

*Click here for my review of The Dragon’s Eye (The Magic Circle Book Two)

*Click here for my review of The Traitor’s Spell (The Magic Circle Book Three)

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