The Faithful and the Fallen: Book 3: Ruin
Gwynne really up-ends the board of expectations towards the finale of this. Initially, this book seems a lot slower than the previous one, Valour, but that had the advantage of picking up from the cliffhanger ending of Malice. It is in dealing with the consequences of the confrontation at Murias that the book works, as we see both Corban and Nathair and their followers adjusting to the world they now find themselves in.
Something the book demonstrates very strongly is that there can be a great deal of complexity within a moral framework of good and evil, for matters are often far from clear-cut. At the same time Gwynne does set up a very fundamental conflict between the two sides, but he does so carefully and subtlety. Tor, the series’ US publisher had an article about this series on its websites titled along the lines of: Like Game of Thrones, but They’re Not All Bastards. I’d go with that.
There’s also a good sense of balance - it’s not just the bad guys running rampant, quite a few get offed, but not without losses. If anything, the series’ attitude to its reader is more-or-less: Still here? Good, keep up, because we ain’t slowing down.
The ending of the book was such I immediately started on the concluding volume Wrath and I am about 50 pages in on it.
Waiting until I had the set to read in one go was definitely a good idea. Having the next volume to hand with a day or couple of weeks or a couple of minutes gap between reading them makes remembering everything that’s going on much, much easier.
I’ve recently bagged the first of his sequel trilogy, so will likely be reading that in a couple of years, assuming Gwynne avoids the curse that hits so many fantasy authors. That this series is complete is encouraging.