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"Hinterland" is the second book of the Godslayer Chronicles and is the follow-up to "Shadowfall". The story carries on a year after the end of the last book and re-introduces us to some familiar characters.
Again, Clemens has provided us with maps of Myrillia (where the book is set), including some more detailed maps of the different lands. This is useful as it helps set the scene when the characters travel from place to place - which they do quite often throughout the book.
The book opens with an unnamed man who we realise is a God when he begins to burn upon touching settled land. Once a God has settled an area of land it is forbidden for another God to enter - the land will burn any other God. This short prologue sets the scene for the following action of the book.
Clemens moves on from the unnamed God to another new character - Brant. Brant is a Hand of the God Jessup and was briefly mentioned in "Shadowfall" as he attended the same elite school as Dart. We are introduced to Brant's beliefs and way of life among the other Hands that serve Jessup.
Clemens again does well with his portrayal of a young person and we sympathise early on with Brant and his views especially when he clashes with Liannora, another Hand of Jessup, who is conceited and power hungry.
Kathryn is re-introduced to us as she visits Jessup to invite him to send his Hands to attend the re-Knighting of Tylar in an effort to reunite Tashijan and Chrismferry. Dart is also present as page to Kathryn and recognises Brant.
Clemens then moves us back to more familiar characters in the shape of Tylar, now regent of Chrismferry. There is dissent in Myrillia as not all of the Gods are happy with Tylar's new power as he is only a man. Tylar is shown to be somewhat weary of his new position but he is still the same honourable man. He is still conflicted emotionally and torn between Kathryn and Delia - his past and his present.
Kathryn is still struggling as the Castellan of Tashijan, fighting against the Warden, Argent, as she is convinced he is undermining the Order. Her feelings for Tylar are still unresolved as well. She is still portrayed as a likeable and sympathetic character.
Dart is shown to be struggling with life as the Castellan's page and also hiding her secret. Dart again plays an important part in this book and is the key to another mystery. She begins to find out about her origins and her importance to the new War that is threatening.
Rogger has re-appeared in Chrismferry with an ilked Rogue skull after travelling the nine lands in an attempt to find out who is behind the so-called Cabal. His reappearance provokes an attack and he quickly flees to Tashijan. Again, Rogger provides some light relief but we also realise that he is a lot more than he seems to be.
The Wyr are quite an important faction in this book and we start to see how underhand they are. The Wyr have a lot of knowledge and power but they will only trade it for a price. Again, no-one knows exactly what their aims are though.
Forces begin to gather around Tashijan in an effort to attack and wipe out the Shadow Kinghts whilst another threat begins to rise within the stronghold itself.
Clemens moves between characters and places frequently in order to build suspense and pace. This tactic works well and again the book is an enjoyable and fairly quick read despite its length. He has done well in expanding on the mysteries of Dart's origins and tying them in with the rest of the plot.
When I first read this book I didn't enjoy it as much as "Shadowfall" but on re-reading both books fairly close together I enjoyed it a bit more. I still think "Hinterland" isn't as strong as "Shadowfall" but it works well as a follow-up as it explains some things but introduces us to more mysteries at the same time.
The new characters that Clemens introduces are a nice touch as they keep the plot fresh whilst retaining familiarity through the characters from the previous book. The new characters such as Brant and his loam giant friends are well written and engaging.
I enjoyed this book and it is obviously a must-read for those who have read and enjoyed "Shadowfall". I can't find much about when the next book in the series will be released or even how many books the series will comprise of. I'm looking forward to the next book though!
This review is also posted on Ciao.co.uk under my username mogdred1.