[By Nic Lindh on Tuesday, 18 January 2005]
John Marco’s The Eyes of God is an engrossing epic which deftly avoids most fantasy clichés and instead of the usual Trek-to-Defeat-Evil-Overlord™ features a character-driven plot mostly populated with three dimensional, flawed people.
The Eyes of God begins with young King Akeela The Good of Liiria heading off on a mission of peace with his adopted brother Lukien. The mission ends with both men falling in love with Akeela’s betrothed Cassandra, and in more than a passing nod to the Legend of Arthur, Cassandra and Lukien of course can’t keep their hands off each other.
From there on out, things go from bad to worse, with Akeela drifting into madness and abandoning his proud ideas of bringing in an era of peace and prosperity.
The novel does take a little while to really get going, and the affair between Cassandra and Lukien, while a crucial setup for the plot, sometimes teeters on the edge of bodice-ripper territory, but after that Marco shows his mastery of battle scenes and war, taking the novel into darker territory.
The Eyes of God is a solid and compulsive read.