Following the acclaimed 'King's Dragon' Prince of Dogs continues the story without missing a heartbeat. The novel opens with the story of two children, and their eventual escape from Gent, occupied by the Eika in the end of 'King's Dragon'. During their escape, they are aided by Sanglant, now named the Prince of Dogs, by his Eika captors. Although a Sanglant was a favorite character of mine, he spends the course of the novel chained to Bloodheart's throne, and staving off insanity. Elsewhere though, action reigns.
Liath continues her pursuit of Magic, and begins to see the mysterious Aoi in her visions, as she sets off on the long road toward magical mastery. She is still haunted by memories of Hugh, and her harsh treatment at his hands, and try as she might, she cannot escape his shadow. Strangely enough, Liath announces several times that the only love she will ever have is Sanglant, with whom there was little significant character interaciton. Almost love at first sight, perhaps in 'King's Dragon' Elliot might have explored this further.
Alain starts his life over, this time not as a peasant, but as the Heir to Lavas. He must prove his courage in battle, and aided by the msyterious Lady of Battles, is proclamied a hero by Lavas' men. Warfare aside, he must prove himself to the nobles, Lord Geoffrey in particular. Finally, he returns to visit his family, yet is devestated by the outcome. Alain and the hounds of Lavas will eventually become a significant player in the Battle of Gent, as Count Lavastine seeks to gain Henry's favour, and a bride for his new son.
Through Alain's dreams, we are given an a wonderful insight into the world of the mysterious Eika. Alain shares a blood bond with Fifth Son, an Eika prince he freed in 'King's Dragon' Through his visions, we see the world through the eyes of Fifth Son, who is slowly growing into a renegade, chafing under his father, Bloodhearts, rule.
King Henry begins to raise another army, this time to storm Gent, and avenge Sanglant, presumed dead. He travels through the still hostile Varre during his recruitment, moving ever closer to Gent. His daughter Sapienta has already left on her Progress, and is pregnant, validifying her claim to the throne. And the man she returns with? An altogether excellent, if not completely unexpected surprise.
Meanwhile, Biscop Antonia has escaped her captors, and has joined Caput Draconis, a mysterious Sorcerer, intent on infilitrating both the Church, and the court of King Henry. Antonia's magical prowess increases, as she is schooled both by Caput Draconis, and her company of fellow sorcerers.
Elliot builds on the excellent storylines created in 'King's Dragon', and eventually Liath and Alain will meet, and become friends. Her character development is strong, if not stronger than her previous novel, and the reader finds it easy to empathize with the main charcters. In a welcome departure from the latest fantasy novel, the names in the book are relatively few, and easy to remember. Unlike 'A Song of Ice and Fire', or the 'Wheel of Time', it's simple to keep track of the various nobles and characters. Elliot builds to an strong climax - the apocalyptic Battle of Gent, and Sanglant's eventual freedom.