The second part of the "Dragon King" trilogy by author Stephen Lawhead is called The Warlords of Nin and follows about a decade after the first part of the tale, In the Hall of the Dragon King. When we last saw our protagonist, Quentin, he was a 15 year old boy who had quickly burgeoned from a shy temple acolyte to a bold and cunning hero. Now we find a man in his mid-20s who has continued to develop and grow both mentally and physically. Quentin and his friend Toli have spent much of their time living and learning in the ruins of a once magnificent city that was inexplicably abandoned by its ancient inhabitants. The story begins as Quentin receives word from King Eskevar that he is to return to the castle at once. The first winds of an incredibly dark and menacing power are just beginning to blow.
For the past decade, Mensandor has known a most wonderful peace. However, that peace has served to make its people soft, to the point that they ignore the rumbles of the approaching enemy for far too long, much to their peril and undoing. Soon enough the cruel destruction of the invading army of staggering proportions cannot be ignored as it rolls along unchecked, mercilessly destroying everyone and everything in its path. Their ultimate goal is to subdue the land and claim Eskevar's castle stronghold as their prize. Without the full support of his liege lords, Eskevar's only recourse is to send his modest retinue of knights to stand against the vast approaching horde and slow their advance. The kingdom's only hope is that Quentin might fulfill his destiny that is wrapped in a mysterious prophesy regarding a sword of light and truth. However, every moment of time that is won comes at the cost of the lives of the king's brave and honorable knights. They fight on with every last vestige of strength, even with the full knowledge that their chances of defeating the invading Nin legions are only the merest of slivers. A most entertaining story, that left me sad for those characters lost, but uplifted by the victory achieved. Now, onto the last part of the trilogy, The Sword and the Flame.