291559Aptly named, the book and the series, for across the trilogy we have explored three very different kingdoms, from the eastern Tuigen, to oriental Shou Lung, and now the western kingdom of Cormyr.

Yamun Khahan has gathered the Tuigen of the grasslands, rolled over Shou Lung, through Thay and Rashamen, and now moves into the Heartlands of Faerun. He just has to get through Cormyr and Azoun first.

And Azoun is not the king of the Purple Dragon kingdom for nothing.  He sets out to unite the kingdoms of the Heartlands to combat the ‘barbarian’ threat, but alliances are never easy, even with the threat of all out annihilation.  Azoun has his hands full trying to get everyone to play nice with each other but in the end the leaders are made to see reason, and a great army is raised for a grand crusade (heh) to save the heart of Faerun.

Interesting family drama along the way here.  Azoun reconnects with his lost daughter Alustair and together they tentatively begin to reform the bond of family love that has been long strained.

And of course the crusade wins in the end, Yamun Khahan is killed, Azoun learns to listen to his heart, and Alustair is finally coming home.  All in all a happy ending for both Crusade and the Empires trilogy.

Going to finish catching up with Dresden Files here.  Cold Days, #14 in the series coming up.


After being murdered by a mystery assailant, navigating his way through the realm between life and death, and being brought back to the mortal world, Harry realizes that maybe death wasn’t all that bad. Because he is no longer Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard.

He is now Harry Dresden, Winter Knight to Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness. After Harry had no choice but to swear his fealty, Mab wasn’t about to let something as petty as death steal away the prize she had sought for so long. And now, her word is his command, no matter what she wants him to do, no matter where she wants him to go, and no matter who she wants him to kill.

Guess which Mab wants first?

Of course, it won’t be an ordinary, everyday assassination. Mab wants her newest minion to pull off the impossible: kill an immortal. No problem there, right? And to make matters worse, there exists a growing threat to an unfathomable source of magic that could land Harry in the sort of trouble that will make death look like a holiday.

Beset by enemies new and old, Harry must gather his friends and allies, prevent the annihilation of countless innocents, and find a way out of his eternal subservience before his new found powers claim the only thing he has left to call his own…

His soul.