Since the publication of her first novel, Green Rider, in 1998, Kristen Britain has gone on to weave more tales about her heroine Karigan G’ladheon and the elite messenger corps of Sacoridia that Karigan belongs to. Blackveil is the 4th of these novels and well worth the four year wait since The High King’s Tomb came out in 2007. By now, I have accepted the fact that there will usually be a 3 to 5 year wait for the next installment in the incredibly intricate saga that she is weaving. Each novel, except perhaps the first one, has left me hanging and growling in frustration at the thought of waiting for the next book to come out, yet each part of the tale is so deftly and enjoyably told that I cannot regret the time she spends to ensure the story is properly told.
Like many of her counterparts who write about worlds that only exist due to their imagination, Kristen Britain does a wonderful job of setting strong, engaging and believable characters in a unique society and culture of her own creation. Her scrappy character, who once appeared to have been recruited into the Rider’s Corps by accident, has grown through her trials and adventures into one of the most famous Riders since the Long War. Her special abilities have saved the kingdom and its handsome young King Zachary on more than one occasion. Though Karigan has been made a Knight of the Realm, she is still from a merchant background and thus a commoner. She and the King share strong feelings for one another which must go unrequited for the good of all Sacordia, especially now that Zachary must marry another to ensure the stability of the Kingdom and Karigan must venture with a party of Elves into the Blackveil Forest. For a thousand years, that edge of the kingdom was protected by a magical wall, but the barrier has been breached and evil is able to slip through. Did Karigan send the evil Mornhavon the Black far enough into the future during her last battle in the forest or is he lurking just a few years into their future?
Blackveil ends with the worst cliffhanger yet and actually provoked a loud squeal of frustration… but I have many, MANY books to read until the fifth in this series becomes available. I also know that when the next one is finally written and scheduled for release, I will have the pleasure of rereading this novel and the other 3 to “remind myself” of all the plot intricacies before I savour the next installment in her wonderful tale. Write Faster, Kristen!
Paperback format, 663 pages, published in 2011 by Daw Books