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The War Within

by Stephen R. Donaldson

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738331,908 (3.83)2
It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository's magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace - and their marriage - has been uneasy.Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way. With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs' strength and will to inspire their people into defiance...… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
Fantasy minimal. Of course Donaldson is a competent writer and can, when he wants, pace a story pretty well, but here he continues to give us nothing much more than the minimal to care about. There is nothing magically wondrous or even scenic to be saved, and the characters spend almost all the time grimly getting along with their duty in the face of major doubts and disappointments.
A strange aspect is that before the start of the story the two kingdoms had no religion, no god or gods. But, they refer to the power used by sorcerers and Magisters as theurgy. I don't think that's a random choice on Donaldson's part, but it is a strange one. ( )
  quondame | Nov 25, 2022 |
It has been quite a while that a book has kept me up late into the night so I could find out the ending.

This is the second installment of Stephen R. Donaldson's The Great God's War. The first Seventh Decimate is more character driven, revolving around the trials of Prince Bifalt as he searches for the legendary home of sorcery. The Last Repository- is the only hope of restoring the loss of magic to his kingdom of Belleger. In order to gain help from the Repository, Biflat is tasked with forging an alliance with his decades old enemy the Kingdom of Amika. In order to gain the alliance he is forced into marriage with Estie their Crown Princess.

The second installment opens nearly 20 years later-Bilfalt has found the library, but was the price he paid worth it all? Book Two is less character driven, told in the 3rd person with many voices, and a plot that evolves slowly. If you are not a fan of "magic"-no worries, as that aspect of the story is more background information, than anything else. Religion enters the tale and the age-old turmoil that fanatics are known for. With each chapter the suspense builds and the book is harder to put down.

There is a great strong female presence in the book with Estie, which was missing from the first installment. I look forward to the final book where I know she will continue to enhance the story-line.

This is High Fantasy at it's best. Fair Warning:The first book may be tough to get through but it is worth the effort of finishing and moving on to book 2. ( )
  JBroda | Sep 24, 2021 |
Second book in the Great God's War series and a real stunner. I found that I could not put it down.
Set 20 years after the first book, Bifalt is now King of Belleger and married to Estie, Queen of Amika. Though they are both attracted to each other, for complicated reasons their marriage remains as yet unconsummated. They are trying to prepare for the inevitable coming of the Last Repository's enemy through their lands, though they are sorely threatened by internal plotting and power struggles.
It is a long book, but I loved it all. The relationship between Bifalt and Estie is brilliantly written. I was surprised to read on the author's website that it was not terribly well-received, and he is having trouble with the publishing of the last book. I pray that it does come out! ( )
  AaronCook | Feb 13, 2021 |
It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository's magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace - and their marriage - has been uneasy.

Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way.

With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs' strength and will to inspire their people into defiance...
  tony_sturges | Oct 27, 2019 |
It saddens me to give anything by Stephen Donaldson only three stars, as he is one of my top five fantasy authors and I adored all the Thomas Covenant books and the Mirror of her Dreams, and even liked the Gap series even though it was Sci-Fi not fantasy. But I am really not enjoying this new series much (although I will stick with it until the end). I cannot like anything about King Bifalt, and Queen Estie doesn't interest me much. The plot seems really slow, with every action pondered and hyper-analysed. Ooo Bifault is so annoying! I kept putting this book aside and reading something else, until I MADE myself finish it. Rereading the first book before I started this one didn't help me get interested in the characters. I'm sad that I don't love it. ( )
  Griffin22 | Sep 2, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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To Rocky Kearney and Evelin Yourstone Wheeler
for decades of enduring friendship

and to Jennifer Dunstan
for her generous love
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From the high windows of his workroom, the tall librarian, white-haired and bearded, studied the battlements the defended the gates, and below them the wide plateau lying like a porch at the foot of the Last Repository.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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It has been twenty years since Prince Bifalt of Belleger discovered the Last Repository and the sorcerous knowledge hidden there. At the behest of the repository's magisters, and in return for the restoration of sorcery to both kingdoms, the realms of Belleger and Amika ceased generations of war. Their alliance was sealed with the marriage of Bifalt to Estie, the crown princess of Amika. But the peace - and their marriage - has been uneasy.Now the terrible war that King Bifalt and Queen Estie feared is coming. An ancient enemy has discovered the location of the Last Repository, and a mighty horde of dark forces is massing to attack the library and take the magical knowledge it guards. That horde will slaughter every man, woman, and child in its path, destroying both Belleger and Amika along the way. With their alliance undermined by lingering hostility and conspiracies threatening, it will take all of the monarchs' strength and will to inspire their people into defiance...

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