The Immortal Prince is a story about lies. The story winds and unwinds around two main characters, Arkady Desean, a cynical young academic and Kyle Lakesh, a murderer who desperately wants to die, despite his self-proclaimed immortality. Arkady also happens to be the Duchess of Glaeba, married to the Kingís cousin and quietly confident she can expose this murderous charlatan for what he is Ė a fraud. Concerned at the political implications of the situation, Arkady can only scoff as the murderer claims to be Cayal, the Immortal Prince, a god-like figure of mythology and a character of the Tarot.
Arkady is well able to handle herself - strong, confident and intelligent, she is used to dealing with manipulative people attempting to gain favour, fortune and political advantage through deception. The more she hears of the prisonerís fantastic stories of heroism, despicable acts and cataclysmic destruction, the more convinced Arkady is that she can catch him out. Certain his wild tales will fail the test of scrutiny, Arkady wavers between contempt for his lies and concern for his sanity as the prisonerís stories become ever more complicated.
As we are introduced to the people in Arkady and Cayalís worlds, a web of sins and lies is revealed as the many characters work to hide their own secrets whilst attempting to uncover the truth about those around them. The story moves along quickly, meshing historical events with the present seamlessly, creating an intriguing insight into the motivations and character of the major players. Some of the twists and turns I could see coming, but others were utterly unexpected. It is the uncovering of the truth, both by the reader and by the characters that makes this book such a pleasure to read. In many ways, the twists I had second-guessed left me even more frustrated, as characters made decisions, unaware of the consequences of their actions. The fact that I cared about these consequences is testimony to the well crafted characters and the authorís ability to spin a tale that is exciting and ever-expanding in scale.
The fantasy world Fallon has created has many parallels to our own, as she draws on mythology and archetypes to weave a story that spans, in some cases, generations. The book hints at many potential allies and enemies, plots and sub-plots and unrevealed secrets. I greatly look forward to the next volume in the Tide Lords trilogy, intrigued to see how the collision-course set in motion by the events in this book will manifest themselves.
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