The Burning Man (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn #0.5)

The Burning Man by Tad Williams
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The castle of Hayholt in the middle of Osten Ard is once again the location of a Tad Williams story. Set a few hundred years before the time of the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy this story adds to the overall history of the Hayholt by describing the time of ‘King’ Sulis the Apostate, the 4th mortal to reign over the former Sithi capital of Asu’a, as told by his step-daughter Breda.

Breda recalls how Sulis was considered an Apostate by the Church in Nabban and how he pursued an intellectual question to the detriment to his own health, all the while Breda remembers her first love which at first seems trivial but later has important ramifications at the end of the story. The titular ‘Burning Man’ makes readers of the trilogy think of someone else, but is in fact a slight of hand by the author to MST fans while also intriguing to first time Osten Ard readers. The tight, interconnected plot threads and the nice swerve as to who the Burning Man is makes this prequel great both for MST readers and those that have never stepped foot in Osten Ard.

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