Sparhawk, Pandion Knight and Queen's Champion, returns from a long spell of exile to find his native land overrun with evil and intrique - and his young Queen grievously ill. Indeed, Ehlana lies magically entombed within a block of crystal, doomed to die unless a cure can be found within the year.
But as Sparhawk and his allies - who include Sephrenia, the ageless sorceress, and Flute, the strange and powerful girl-child - seek to save Ehlana and the land, they discover that the evil is greater and more persuasive than they had feared.
I've just finished rereading The Diamond Throne (book 1 of the Elenium) by David Eddings, who's one of my all time favourite authors from my childhood. I discovered his books in the library and have reread both the Elenium and the sequel trilogy the Tamuli, as well as his other major series The Belgariad and the Malloreon AND their prequel/sequels Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress and the Rivan Codex - all numerous times. I absolutely loved them back then and I still greatly enjoy rereading them.
It was weird getting back into this one though, because I noticed a few things that haven't bothered me before, or rather I just didn't think much about it. If you read this wanting to get offended, it sort of condoning infidelity will probably piss you off. And the fact that our heroes (all tough men) have no problem (threatening) to beat a young boy with a belt as punishment for him/to serve him a lesson. And that the Southern race is suspiciously similar to the stereotypical Arabs as well as being portrayed as plain stupid. Like, an entire nation of people with the IQ of a sheep - it's just such lazy writing really that... and ever so slightly racist. The humour can also be pretty bleak and forced. Like you can just imagine the author sitting there, chuckling as he write these "bad-ass" jokes, but the mature reader doesn't really find it all that funny.
As anyone who have read some of Eddings' books will know he also somewhat lacked imagination. Storylinewise The Belgariad/Malloreon and The Elenium/Tamuli are almost exactly the same. I have been told that his third series was almost identical to these two as well. Only major difference is really just that in this series the main character is an adult, a trained warrior and slightly less clueless than Garion in the Belgariad. A blue gemstone is once again the major almighty thingymagic, and our hero has a cast of resourceful friends whose roles are pretty similar to those of the other series, including a magic-wielding teacher/guide. And finally the deities also play a big part in the action.
So now that I've sat here and thrashed the book, you might wonder why I gave it 4 stars? Well, partly because it holds sentimental value for me, but also partly it's really just a good read. I chose to ignore some of the bad parts (like the infidelity) because set in a more medieval setting, I can't expect the characters to have modern values. And in regard to the somewhat paper-thin characters I chose to overlook their flaws and just enjoy the story. Some books aren't meant to be interpreted and given deep thought. This book doesn't hold a lesson to be learned. It's just meant to be enjoyed.
The story continues in The Ruby Knight and The Sapphire Rose (books 2 and 3 of the Elenium)
this particular edition: 496 pages / first published in 1989
Review by Iben J, BoB, 2012
Review by Iben J, BoB, 2012