(No spoilers on the series) Stunning. I devoured this book. I was completely hooked and unable to stop turning the pages, all the while immersing with ease and tight focus in the story. Gorgeous, exciting, haunting, draining, the plot exerts an irresistible pull and throws the reader in a whirlwind of action, drama, witty bantering, tales of plunder, grim predicaments, thwarted desires, true friendships, covert entanglements and malicious, subtle plotting.
The convergence started with Peril’s Gate, and the rolling break-neck pace, keep on in this book, where the unveilings about the events entwine with the brilliance of the complex energy system governing the world of Athera. In Traitor’s Knot high seriousness and emotionally powerful scenes (including one of the grimmest chapters of the whole series so far, not to mention an unforgettable sequence of dramatic intensity where comedy and tragedy mingle unmercifully) are seamlessly accompanied by moments of clever humor, much to the delight of the reader and (some) of the characters alike; one of the many techniques in the boundless artistic arsenal of the author, who manages, once again, to reach the highest pinnacles of imaginative grace.
Even the characters-traded insults are vivid and artistic!
I love the structure of this series, where several answers are not up front or spoon-fed, the story makes the reader reach for them and live them the deeper when they arrive. I was prompted through the books to figure out what to think about the events, the world and the characters, but all the tools are always supplied and the resulting cohesive picture is incredible.
The story played with my perceptions and my sensibilities. I was thoroughly, sweepingly, utterly and inside out-ly manipulated by the author: from start to end this book delivered intense scenes with relentless pace, building on my awareness of the layers laid down in previous volumes that allowed them to move on all levels without explanation. And the smooth change from seriousness to humor to the bittersweet and back again got me off-guard most often than not, probably to the intended emotional involvement as the story progressed.
It is indeed not only what the story shows, how the plot unfolds and the characters develop, it's also how this is told, the delivery, the balance, the depth and the genuine delight at the revelations, that makes a great difference. I loved the previous books and I was satisfied, but little did I know when I started reading Curse of the Mistwraith that it was just the beginning of what has already become an all-time favorite fantasy series.
Traitor's Knot is all denouements, the story unfolds at break-neck pace and I finished the volume within a few days and didn't even notice how absorbed I was, then I approached Stormed Fortress, the longest Arc of the series finale with high expectations, and again, no letup.
It is incredible what was managed with a relatively small cast of characters in a relatively small world (no multiple worlds or continents here), but again, one of the cornerstones of Janny Wurts’ storytelling is “no sprawl”: the story doesn’t repeat itself and the characters never stagnate. This series is awesome, so well worth the journey. The story keeps flowing beautifully along with the building of more tension; the narrative takes you and simply does not let you go.