The man who spared his life and stopped a war, is missing. His wife's father hates him. His son resents him. He has an alien delegation on his doorstep. It is his first year as the Thirteenth Dragonhorse, and he still cannot fathom how he got to be the most powerful single entity in the known galaxy.
In this second book in the Dragonhorse Chronicles, Ah'krill Ardenai Morningstar has more questions than answers, but he knows that the fate of millions of people hangs on what he chooses to do next.
Terrill has created a believable futuristic landscape in her network of planets forming the Affined Equi Worlds, and she includes a helpful index so that readers can keep track of the many characters and locales spread throughout the galaxy. The otherworldly atmosphere Terrill conveys–expect horses, surprising tech, and wrenching descriptions–will draw in and surprise even the most well-versed science fiction readers, and she has created a fully believable milieu with multilayered, dynamic cultures and characters. At times, incongruous expressions and details, like a character asking if another is “hot to trot” or multiple characters making the thumbs up gesture, may pull readers from the otherwise finely detailed inner workings of Equi.
Sensitive readers should be aware that Terrill does not shy away from the dystopic realities in her imagined world: rape is described in graphic detail, from Ardenai’s drug-induced hallucinations to an unsettling scene involving an underage girl. These depictions of sexual violence are not for the faint of heart. However, Conscience of the King stands out for its emotional weight and rich storytelling. This second compelling volume in the ongoing Dragonhorse Chronicles, boasting highly original worldbuilding, technologies, conflicts, and action, while offering seasoned science fiction readers much to sink their teeth into.
Takeaway: An immersive, inventive continuation of an epic science fiction saga.
Great for fans of: Octavia E. Butler’s Lilith’s Brood, Elizabeth Stephens’s Taken to Voraxia.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A