Trudi Canavan is one of those authors that if you haven’t read yet you should be on your way to do so, say, now. She is now up to her third fantasy trilogy (The Traitor Spy Trilogy), for which Ambassador’s Mission is the first entry, as well as another standalone novel within a previously created world, The Magician’s Apprentice (find my review of it here). I’m a pretty big fan of Canavan’s work, so I was especially enthusiastic about picking up the sequel to her truly great, Black Magician Trilogy. Not only is it a great sequel, Ambassador’s Mission sets a strong start to what I’m sure shall be a wonderful trilogy.
As the son of the late High Lord Akkarin, saviour of the city, and Sonea, the former street urchin turned Black Magician, Lorkin has a legacy of heroism and adventure to live up to. So when Lord Dannyl takes the position of Guild Ambassador to Sachaka, Lorkin volunteers to be his assistant in the hopes of making his mark on the world.Some people don’t like sequels. They just don’t believe, especially when dealing with a sequel series, that it brings anything more to a previous series that stood on its own. On occasion I would agree. Some authors just try to expand and expand and expand when really, there wasn’t much left to expand in the first place. It’s also true though that some of the longer fantasy series out there could essentially be broken up into two or three separate series, but since they grouped as one series people accept them. In the case of Trudi Canavan and her two series, The Black Magician and the one that is starting with Ambassador’s Mission, I’ve no problem with her continuing the story of the Magician’s Guild of Kyralia. There is still much to be explored the fact that Canavan has been planning a sequel almost from the start reassures me in the sense that she has though this out.
When the news comes that Lorkin is in danger, the law that forbids Black Magicians leaving the city forces Sonea to trust that Dannyl will save him, and now Cery needs her as never before. Someone has been assassinating Thieves, and when his family is targeted he finds evidence that this Thief Hunter uses Magic.
Either a member of the Guild is hunting down the Thieves one by one, or there is – once again – a rogue on the streets of Imardin. But this one has full control of their powers – and is willing to kill with them.
In my review of Magician’s Apprentice, the prequel novel, I mentioned that like any good prequel, a lot of the mythology was added too. Many of the things added tied in to the Black Magician’s Trilogy but having now read Ambassador’s Mission, I realize that it would have been almost useless to read this book without having read the four books coming before. The majority of what happens comes directly from the Black Magician Trilogy but some things link all the way from Magician’s Apprentice. This supports the hypothesis I had expressed in the other review, in which I assumed Canavan first needed to go further back to be able to move coherently forward.
It is one of the warmest feelings you can get while reading that comes when you plunge back into a familiar world with familiar characters and atmosphere. Of course, being familiar does not mean that you don’t have to get re-accustomed to the place and catch up on the twenty-some years that have passed since you left. And though on the surface not much seems to have happened in the city of Imardin, we quickly discover that this is not completely true. Some major changes have occurred to the city and its criminal activities due to the decisions taken at the end of The High Lord (book three of the Black Magician Trilogy) but some more subtle changes can be observed. The characters have aged and matured and the situations they are in now reflect this growth.
Only a few new characters are introduced, while a large part of the cast of characters is made up of familiar faces. The storytelling is neatly split between a few of the characters with each having their own section of almost each chapter. The pacing is therefore quick and constantly varied. I had no time to be bored as I was carried through what is a carefully plotted novel. Though it does not reach the height of excitement I’ve felt while reading a Canavan book, Ambassador’s Mission is very intently setting the scene for the rest of the trilogy, which from how it has begun with this novel, looks to be even more thrilling than its predecessor.
I would see no sense in picking up Ambassador’s Mission without first having read the Black Magician Trilogy and The Magician’s Apprentice. This really is not the sort of story you should start at halfway through. If you have not read those four other books then you have my greatest recommendation to do so. For those up to speed then you should not miss out on this stunning addition to the Canavan portfolio. Look for the second novel in the Traitor Spy Trilogy, The Rogue, to, I believe, be out sometime next year.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Reading Age: 14 and up
Trudi Canavan's website: http://www.trudicanavan.com/
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