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T. R. Rankin lives and writes in East Greenwich, RI, with his wife Lauren and two cats. A writer and public relations professional for over thirty years, he is an avid sailor and amateur boat builder, and the former editor and publisher of Just Pulp, the Magazine of Popular Fiction.
What does it mean to be a king? Is it a thing ordained by the gods, or to be seized with an iron fist? Or, is it something else entirely, something visceral to a man himself that makes him a king? And what happens to the man when that crown is taken away?
What makes a king? It takes more than a name, more than gold, more even than the possession of an ancient power stone—as Valerius learns in this second volume of the Valerian Chronicles. With his Hidden Valley discovered by the enemy, Valerius faces tough decisions about the future of his rag-tag force, and must either make war on an old friend, or risk annihilation.
In this third volume of the Valerian Chronicles, Valerius’ plans to strike at Fantar are forestalled when he is besieged in the city of Zagorbia. Meanwhile, his half-brother, Thorngere travels north to gather troops in his homeland and discovers the secret of his birth, while Princess Vahla, who like Thorngere is still pained by the revelation that their love is incestuous, travels east with her ubiquitous servant Chad. Some of the tricks taught her by the Mage Volkmir stand her in good stead there as she dupes the Oracle at Cartho and enchants the Viceroy Asperides, but not when she is captured by invading Scythians. After finally throwing off the siege, Valerius moves east with a growing host, and aided by the brilliant but tiny King Koltar, confronts the God, Balam, and the Scythians, and also faces the greatest threat to his entire quest—his own pride.
The Empire secure at last, Valerius finds that far from being able to rest, he must now rebuild what he has conquered. Exhausted after two years of effort, he takes a vacation with Queen and their young children to visit her ailing father King Reuters in Dulcai. But rest is not to be had there, either, for a strange prophecy drives Valerius back to the Inland Sea to confront yet another form of evil. Sailing a new type of ship designed by King Koltar, and joined by Vahla with the ubiquitous Chad, Valerius faces a possessed bastard son of Fantar in a series of sea battles before climbing back into the mountains south of Zagorbia to face his ultimate test and learn at last the secret power of the magic gem, the Eye of Valeria.