The End of All Roads

by Chaz Brenchley

Cover image

Series: Outremer #6
Publisher: Ace
Copyright: 2003
Printing: November 2003
ISBN: 0-441-01114-4
Format: Mass market
Pages: 293

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This is the sixth and final book in the Outremer series. You don't want to read it without reading the previous books.

Wow. What an ending.

All of the threads that have been built up over the preceding five books are here, all woven together in a huge chaotic mess of a war, frantic and confused. Confusing enough that I lost track of who was where in the world and where they were trying to go, and although that didn't matter for a lot of the plot, there were places where it was a bit frustrating. Brenchley makes rather extensive use of various forms of magical transportation just to get the characters shuttled around so that they're all in the right locations for the plot.

Despite the chaos, though, this book really does tie up everything that I was wondering about and knits all of the separate characters and plot lines together. Given how much material had been built up and left unresolved, this requires a lot of scrambling and gets a bit frantic at places, and there's a bit of an info dump at the end to clean up the remaining bits, but it's a satisfying ride and rather hard to put down.

The conclusion was not what I expected, either, and several twists at the end really surprised me. It was obvious all along that the King was going to get involved somehow in this plot, and I thought I had him figured out. I was wrong. (Admittedly, I'm bad at guessing plot twists and don't put a lot of effort into it.) The resolution of the various romantic plotlines also surprised me a bit; there were no easy decisions, and I approve of that.

Brenchley does his best to stand a few assumptions of the series on their head at the end, changing the light in which many previous events should be taken. I'm not sure the effect is completely effective, and I left the series with some dissatisfaction over the motivations of the bad guys, which were left rather simplistic. But I do appreciate the audacity, and in the end I think it worked for me.

If you've read enough of the series to be invested in what happens to the characters, I strongly recommend staying through to the end. There's some wheel-spinning in the beginning of this book, and you're likely to get confused about who's where at a few points, but I don't think it will let you down in the end. This book will certainly will answer many or all of your open questions. I'm not sure if the ending is strong enough to save the series as a whole from a rather weak start, but I will cautiously recommend the whole series to people who find the history of religion, the Crusades, or the Holy Land interesting.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Reviewed: 2004-07-26

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