CSFF Blog Tour: Fortress of Mist

Thomas has the city of Magnus, and other things his enemies want even more. He is not entirely sure who his enemies are, much less where they are, but they keep leaving him signs. The slaughtered bulls were a pretty clear hint.

He has other hints – hints of help from the people who would be his friends, if they weren’t so suspicious. Caught between a conspiracy and a secret, Thomas is left to grope for answers. The war provides some distraction, though.

In Fortress of Mist Sigmund Brouwer continues the story of the Druids, the Immortals, and Thomas. With the setting-up accomplished, the plot is brisker and more enjoyable. Two of my favorite characters melted into the background. Thomas was, I think, worse as a character for the knight’s disappearance. The dynamic they had developed in the first book – the knight committed to helping Thomas, yet testing and teaching him – was good for him and good for the story.

In stories generally, and in fantasy even more so, male characters tend to outnumber female ones. Merlin’s Immortals is no exception. Yet the female presence seems unusually strong to me. Of both the Druids and the Immortals, it is a woman who is most active and most interesting in the story. Thomas’ teacher, who put him on his quest, was also a woman.

As far as I have seen, there is no real magic in the series. The “potions” and supposed sorcery are only natural tricks made to appear supernatural. The books affirm, however, that the Druids practice human sacrifice, and it is almost impossible to combine that with a studious rejection of genuine witchcraft. I think it is true, as G. K. Chesterton wrote, that pagans practiced such demonic rites not because they were ignorant of how terrible they were, but because they knew. The potent horror of blood and fire was meant to evoke the horrible power of dark forces. It is hard to imagine people who would sacrifice to demons but seek power only from scientists.

I don’t mean this as criticism of the book. The scientific magic is the freshest and most ingenuous element of the series, and we don’t know much of the Druids yet. But come the next book, it will be time to. The hints, along with the game of distrust, have about run their course.

Fortress of Mist is a better book than The Orphan King; I expect the third book will be better yet. Few mysteries have actually been solved, and you know, closing the book, that the characters have a long, and very interesting, way to go yet.

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

7 thoughts on “CSFF Blog Tour: Fortress of Mist

  1. I agree–I miss Thomas’ interactions with Sir William. Also, good point about how the Druids are supposedly magical, yet are strangely interested in these books. There was one vague hint that there was something else Thomas had that they wanted. The next book definitely needs to offer more.

  2. I’m hoping to see Sir William in the next book. I actually enjoyed Tiny John more, but William probably left a bigger gap.

    Thanks for commenting, yesterday and today.

  3. I totally agree with you, that Fortress of the Mist is an even better book than the first. I also love your observation that the scientific magic is an “ingenuous element of the series”. So true! Great review 🙂


  4. Great observations, as always, Shannon. It’s interesting that those participating on the tour don’t always agree, but there’s been considerable unanimity on this tour. By and large, it seems we all enjoyed Book 2 more.

    I was a little frustrated that Thomas wasn’t able to move further along in the trust issue. As far as I can see, he’s been more trusting than those who are trying to win him away from the Druids. I don’t like the blind trust they seem to expect of him.

    Still, I am intrigued and wish I could keep reading right now.


  5. Thanks, Jeremy and Becky. There’s some divergence of opinion on this tour, but not on which book was better.

    I understand your frustration, Becky. The next book will falter if the author doesn’t move beyond the distrust angle.

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