2439888Most of this story has little to do with Empress Hekat, yet it’s still crucial as the next step in the saga.

Zandakar, warlord of Mijak, firstborn son of Empress Hekat, was thrown down by his mother at the end of the previous book, giving control of the army to his younger brother Dimitrik.  After of course she sliced open the belly of his pregnant young bride, killing Zandakar’s unborn son only to have his brother slit his bride’s throat.

Riven Kingdom starts off far west of Mijak in an island country called Ethrea that has lived in peace for centuries. But that peace is about to be shattered when the king dies and leaves his only surviving child -a daughter- as a ward of the country’s church which is ruled and controlled by a greedy, ambitious despot claiming to be a man of God.  But out of nowhere comes an unassuming royal toymaker named Dexterity Jones.  directed by god through visitation in the form of his dead wide, Dexterity saves Zandakar from a slave ship, the princess from a church prison, and ultimately his country from utter ruin.

At least for now, for Ethrea is not safe.  Mijak is on the move, heading forever west trying to conquer the world for their ‘god’ that actually looks to be a primeval evil and only Zandakar and the new queen of Ethrea can stop it.  But how willing will they be to work together?  After spending the entirety of the book hiding his past and gaining the trust of his companions, Zandakar is found to be a member of the murderous people of Mijak and a slaughterer of innocents.

Unfortunately that’s where Riven Kingdom ends, so we’ll have to wait till Hammer of God to find out what happens next.

In the meantime, let’s start off with that Harper series of the Realms I mentioned a little while back. First in the fifteen book saga, The Parched Sea coming up.

237288Determined to drive a trade route through Anauroch, the Zhentarim have sent an army to enslave the fierce nomads of the great desert. As tribe after tribe fall to the intruders, only a single woman, Rhua, sees the true danger—but what sheik will heed the advice of an outcast witch?

Ruha finds help from an unexpected source. The Harpers, guardians of liberty throughout the Realms, have sent an agent to counter the Zhentarim. If she can help this stranger win the trust of the sheikhs, perhaps he can overcome the tribes’ ancestral rivalries and drive the invaders from the desert.