Making a triumphant return to the world of his Nown World Chronicles, Donald Allen Kirch brings us The Return of Ka-Ron the Knight.
In many ways, this third volume brings the entire tale full-circle, both in terms of narrative and world history. After a relatively straight (no pun intended) forward entry, in which genders remained fixed, even if they were sometimes disguised, Kirch makes Jatel victim of the same gender-bending curse as the man to whom he was once squire, and then husband, and now wife. It's interesting to see how he adapts to things, especially having been forewarned by Ka-Ron/Karen's experience, but I won't spoil the surprise.
At the same time, Count Voslow makes a rather surprising return, revealing the truth about his origins, his vampiric nature, and his role in world events. I really wasn't expecting to see him again after the middle volume, but I should have known a good vampire never rests for long. The way in which the world has evolved however, and the way the new settlements surrounding his castle have developed, both add some interesting depth to his role in the story.
Of course, once cannot talk about Count Voslow without mentioning the Nown. Mysterious figures from history, who have attained the status of legend, it turns out that Voslow is the only man left alive to remember who they are, where they came from, and where they left. Their return adds a significant science-fiction element to the saga, bringing the concept of alien invasion to a fantasy world. With no weapons of mass destruction, heavy duty armour, or any of the other scientific developments that usually see humanity triumphant in contemporary tales, Kirch's world is at a serious disadvantage.
Or, they would be, were it not for magic!
Just as much fun as the first two volumes, with a little more of the first book's erotic elements, but a serious increase in the level of excitement, The Return of Ka-Ron the Knight brings the story of Ka-Ron, Jatel, Keeth, and all the rest to a satisfying close.
[Reviewed by Sally]