It’s always tough to review sequels. Especially a sequel to a sprawling book like Sunder of Time, that has a large cast of characters and multiple different timelines. Thus, there are not only a lot of characters, but different versions of the same character. (Probably this is one of those books where it’s helpful to keep notes, so you can remember who is who.) And when you add in that I don’t want to spoil what happens in the first book, it’s pretty hard to explain the plot of this one.
So, what’s a poor book reviewer to do? I could just say that if you liked the first book, you’ll probably like the second one, too. And that’s true. But, of course, probably not very helpful. Especially if you haven’t actually read the first book yet. (My review is here.) I highly recommend it.
But as to this book, it carries on the story of the first one, although in an interesting way. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that while the first book takes place mainly in the distant past, this one is largely in the far future. But still, the same kind of intrigues and political machinations are there, as is the brisk pace and intense action.
I think what I’ll focus on here, to avoid giving away major plot spoilers, is McTiernan’s keen grasp of psychology. Everything the characters do is informed by this, perhaps most notably in the way one character uses subtle psychological tricks to manipulate people into giving him loyalty he really doesn’t deserve. There are people like this in real life, and knowing how these kinds of mind games work is helpful in dealing with them.
This is an excellent sequel to a very good book, and I’ll be interested to see where the series goes from here.