The third and final book of the Outcast Chronicles.

Publication year: 2012
Page count: 559
Format: print
Publisher: Solaris

290 years ago the peace accords were signed between the True-men (whom the T’En call Mieren) and the powerful and long-lived T’Enatuath (whom the humans call the Wyrd). The two races have co-existed in an uneasy peace since then. Sometimes half-bloods (whom the T’En call the Malaunje and the humans call the Wyrd) are born to two True-men parents. According to the accords, the True-men have to give up the half-blood infants to the T’En.

But king Charald has broken the accords. He attacked the T’En Celestial City and only the cunning of the T’En’s elected leader Imoshen allowed her to negotiate a treaty. According to the treaty, the T’En and Malaunje are allowed free passage to ships which will take them away forever. However, ambitious rebel baron Eskarnor attacked the T’En. Even though king Charald’s declining mental and physical health has been kept a secret, Eskarnor has learnt of it and is taking advantage of it. Now, he has kidnapped old king Charald’s young queen and raped her. Eskarnor intends to murder king Charald and marry the queen so that he will take the throne. However, Charald’s adviser Sorne is trying his best to unite the land against the usurper baron and get the queen back safely. Sorne was born a half-blood so most of the Mieren hate him, which that makes his task very difficult.

Meanwhile, after enduring several attacks the T’Entuath and the Malajaune have finally reached the ships which are supposed to take them to safety. They have a long journey ahead of them but before that they still need to wait for the last of their own people to reach the ships. They are sailing to a temporary safe harbor. In addition to the threat of the Mieren who are anxious to get their hands on the T’En’s rumored wealth, Imoshen has to deal with the suspicions and grumpy T’En leaders who are always looking to increase their own stature – at the cost of other T’En. Unfortunately, at these critical times, their ambitions and their lack of trust to each other could be the end of the whole race.

Kyredeon leads one of the biggest warrior brotherhoods but instead of leading with honor, he keeps the less powerful warriors in line with fear. Even some of his own men have started to think that he’s corrupted in his fear and hatred. Tobazim is a young warrior who has only recently joined Kyredeon’s brotherhood but already the leader has singled him out as a threat. Tobazim has a circle of supporters but most of them are young warriors who resent Kyredeon and Tobazim is afraid that Kyredeon will kill him and his supporters.

In the previous book, Exile, we were introduced to a family of two runaway Malaunjes. The greedy Mieren killed the parents and brought the children to the T’En. Now the six children are being torn away from each other because some of them are Malaunje and some are pure T’En, and in the T’En society the T’En don’t acknowledge their Malaunje kin. However, because the kids have grown together, it hard for them to follow this rule. The Malaunje girls are also now automatically servants according to the T’En society’s rules and proud Aravelle can barely stomach that.

The third book in the series is just as intense as the others, full of action, politics, and tragedy. People will have to do heartbreaking things to save their lives or the lives of others. The book also deals with child abuse.

Sanctuary doesn’t have as much out-right warfare as the previous book but the True-men, the Mieren, are just as greedy and ruthless as in the previous books. They will try their best to rape, kill, and rob every last T’En rather than let them sail away. Some of the T’En are also misusing their position and abuse the Malaunje they’re supposed to protect. Also, some the more powerful Malaunje abuse the other Malaunje. One of the themes of the book is how power and ambition corrupts people.

The T’En culture is as fascinating as ever with a lot of internal conflict and suspicions. Imoshen has to resort to outright trickery to get the various brotherhoods and sisterhoods to work together long enough to save their race. She’s also an idealist and tries to take small steps to change the culture which divides T’En women and men from each other from birth. However, many of the people she depends on are traditionalists who would be horrified with the changes she’s dreaming about.

The characters are mostly vivid and compelling, especially the T’En. Unfortunately, most of the Mieren are left almost as caricatures of hatred and greed. Imoshen was raised outside the T’En society and sometimes she has difficult time fitting in. She’s convinced that the T’En society is limiting both individuals and the whole race from growing to their full potential. But most of the T’En don’t want to change. The young warrior Tobazim is an exception to this; he wants his leader Kyredeon deposed and a safer life for everyone in the brotherhood. Tobazim’s gift is for seeing how buildings are put together and the weak spots in them. Now, he can use his gift for people as well. For most of the series, Sorne has been torn between his loyalty to the old ruthless king Charald and to the T’En. Now, he’s thinking of doing one last service to the Mieren before joining the T’En in their exile.

Sanctuary is an intense and satisfying conclusion to the series.

The author kindly sent me a review copy.