“We live for the Lady! We fight for the Lady! We die for the Lady!”
- Release date : June 28th 2022
- Publishing house : Orbit
- Series : Covenant of Steel
- Pages : 528
Last year, Anthony Ryan’s new series Covenant of Steel was released. As usual, it was a brilliant start and The Martyr is the same vein. Our protagonist survived the political machinations and wars but Lady Evangeline Courlain’s (or Evadine) growing fame puts her at odds with both the Crown and the Covenant.
Alwyn moved up the ladder from when he was but a bandit. Now a captain, he has his own soldiers and he has become a key advisor to Evadine on whom she relies quite a lot. As we go along the book, Alwyn’s roles are numerous: he acts as a military strategic, a spymaster and an advisor. Anthony Ryan is slowly building Alwyn’s legend and book 3 is going to be the culmination of it all. He still finds himself in difficult situations but he always finds a way to prevail over what is thrown his way. His quick wits, his previous experiences and the fact that he relies on the skills of those accompanying him are his strengths.
I have often observed that a surfeit of faith will walk hand in hand with a dearth of common sense.
Frowned upon by both the Crown and the Faith, they are trying to destroy Evadine and the symbol she represents. Her resurrection after a battle fought in the name of King Thomas doesn’t sit well with the Covenant which regards her as fraud. Alwyn and a few other characters know that her resurrection wasn’t made possible by the Seraphile but thank to the Sack Witch’s magic. If someone outside of this circle were to learn about it, the consequences would be disastrous.
They asked her to depart to Alundia to quell a rebellion of nobles who distanced themselves from the Covenant. The task is all the more arduous as the faith in this part sees Evadine as a heretic to be burnt. Set out to take control of a ruined castle and to restore order until the king arrives, the company finds itself in a precarious position. War ensues and after a string of victories and an important prisoner captured, the Company set out in the pursuit of one of the leaders in the mountains. This leader triggers an avalanche. With the mountain being close to the Caerith Wastes, Alwyn is taken in by some of them. His « friendship » with the Sack will save him from being killed and he begins to live with them for a few months, even starting a form of friendship with Lilat, a huntress.
These few months with the Caerith really helped satisfy his curiosity as almost nothing was known about them except rumours and false accounts. As a script, it was a valuable experience.
A man who isn’t truly a king stands ready to greet a woman who isn’t truly a martyr.
Making his way back to Evadine with Lilat in tow, we learn that Duke Guhlton of Althiene decided to ally himself with the Pretender because the Crown took the Duke’s daughter as prisoner and is trying to marry her off to her son. Another war breaks out and the Crown emerges victorious.
Anthony Ryan has always had a knack to craft fleshed-out characters. There is an abundance of political machinations with each faction vying for power. You will also have your fill of wars with The Martyr! The ending and some elements throughout the book made me fear the worst for The Traitor.