Five Hundred Years After (Khaavren Romances #2)

Title: Five Hundred Years After

Author: Steven Brust

Series: Khaavren Romances #2

Despite the promising beginnings of friendship, Khaavren is the only one of his four comrades left in the Phoenix Guard. He’s been alone for hundreds of years, growing quieter, but still strongly committed to his duty. The Empire has been suffering from the neglect (and foolishness) of the Emperor, but as conspiracies threaten to unravel the kingdom, Khaavren determines to do what he must to protect his king and his country. Even if it does set him at odds with old friends.

This was more interesting to me than The Phoenix Guards. Knowing the end from the beginning—that Adron’s Disaster is the focus of the book—lends a certain tragedy to the whole affair. This is echoed in Khaavren himself, who started The Phoenix Guards by stumbling into a set of fast friends, but who starts this one alone. He alone remained in the Phoenix Guards, he alone has found neither friend nor spouse nor obsession to replace them, and he has tempered his original enthusiasm with almost a melancholy devotion to his duty.

Even when the circumstances bring him back together with his old friends, his duties hold them apart. Khaavren’s job is to carry out the will of an Emperor whose decisions are increasingly worsening the situation instead of improving it. Although he’s also influential enough, in his own way, to push for better courses of actions when he can.

This is also funny on a number of levels. For one, the assassination attempts against Khaavren. It’s a continual source of frustration to the powers that want him dead, and an amusing experience for the reader, who can see how little Khaavren expects any of them, yet how perfectly the situations work out in his favor. I also thought it was fun how he meets Daro, and what attracts him to her (she gets fired).

All in all, this book covers an interesting period of history in the Dragaeran Empire, one referenced a number of times in the Vlad books, but would stand alone just fine. I rate this book Recommended.

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