The Sacred Band By David Anthony Durham Book 3 in The Acacia Trilogy

We have reached the finale volume in the underrated Acacia Trilogy by David Anthony Durham. What started out as a derivative story to A Game of Thrones, this series has taken on a life of its own and still holds through today as one of the most original stories and I have ever read. For reasons unknown to me, these books have gone under the radar pretty much since the date of publication and this to me is a real shame. The Acacia Trilogy is a special series to me and I know there is a bigger audience for these books in SFF genre today. This will be a spoiler free review but I will be touching on events in the previous two books.

Dariel now resides in the Other Lands in the company of the Free People. After the devious plan of the League to form an alliance with the Auldek following the betrayal of the Acacian family and the mass genocide of the Lothan Aklum. With the help of the Free People, Dariel was able to destroy the Soul Catcher and to put an end to the barbarous practice of putting souls in the bodies of the Auldek to extend life. Dariel must now travel into the mountains to discover the mysteries of the Auldek and discover his destiny. Meanwhile the Auldek have discovered they can march to war against the empire and be able to have children again since the curse of the Soul Catcher makes them infertile. They are marching their armies through the north on a collision course with Queen Corinn. Corinn has decided to bring back the affects of the mist but this time through a vintage wine with the help of the League and it turns out to be much more addictive than the previous drug. When the whole world seems to be collapsing around her, she does the most drastic thing se can think of a revive her brother Aliver from death using the Song of Elenet.

Mena has made it her duty to hunt and destroy the corruptions that have manifested following the Santoth using their powers to destroy the Mein. Mena comes to discover the dragon serpent she names Elya and brings her back to the palace. It turns out the Elya is about to lay eggs and Corinn has other plans for the baby’s in mind with the Auldek on the march. Finally we have the League itself, shocked at the events that transpired in the Other Lands. The gamble has not paid off and the League must take a back seat to let the events transpire as they must, knowing that they will turn out on top regardless of who wins the battle.

All I can say about the concluding volume is that it does not disappoint. We get answers that have been on our minds since book one such as: What are the origins of the League, who are the Lothan Aklum, and what caused the Santoth to be exiled from the world. All the while, the plot and twists just keeps building the whole way through to the final pages. I will say the the overall conclusion to the story did feel a bit underwhelming, but this is a rare case for me when the journey these characters have gone through is much more important than the destination (to quote from the Stormlight Archive). The writing is top notch and the prose are some of the best I have read in the fantasy genre. The practices and rituals of the League are both fascinating and horrifying to read and it was a real treat to discover.

In conclusion, I have no quarrels about recommending this series to any SFF fan especially those looking for something in the same vain as A Game of Thrones. I realize that this comparison is used a lot these days, this one is especially true. Whether you read for characters, plot, even magic to a lesser extent this series has everything paced into it, but don’t expect action on every single page. Slow burn is how the story unfolds and it will stay with you for a long time.

Cheers!

3 Comments

      1. I went and looked when I read this and I’m pretty sure this was his only foray into SFF. I got the distinct impression he was trying his hand at “slumming ” it in literary terms.
        But I’m not exactly unbiased when it comes to attributing things to authors, so I wouldn’t place any weight on that idea if I were you 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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