The Sentinel is a fun fantasy tale that sets a band of heroes on an adventure to save the world. A watchmen, a noble, a thief, and a murderer must deliver the eye of an orc god to rescue Toril from Shar’s destruction. Along the way, they fight Shadovar, orcs, ghouls and zombies, crossing oceans, forests and even the Underchasm itself. The characters keep things interesting with their shifting motivations. However, saving the world comes at a high price, and author Troy Denning keeps the reader guessing at who will pay the cost.
“There are no truths more dangerous than terrible truths,” Malik said. “Those are the kind no one wishes to see.”
Featured on the cover is one of the main characters. Kleef is a topsword in the Marsember Watch. He’s a Chosen of the god Helm. Yet his life has not been very special. The ranks of the city guard are rife with corruption. Kleef’s sense of duty and fairness has caused him to be overlooked for promotions. He has little to show for his devotion to Helm. A good fighter with a big sword, Kleef is a character who has much to discover about himself. His flaws, his god’s gifts, and the mysterious magic sword that he wields are all things he must explore.
Sadly not pictured on the cover is Arietta. This story is as much her’s as it is Kleef’s. She is a noble’s daughter and a follower of Siamorphe. Like Kleef, she goes through a journey of self-discovery. Her stout beliefs of courage, duty and leadership bring her into a quest to save the world. Unlike Kleef, though, she must make tougher sacrifices and work twice as hard to survive the adventure. Her god may grant the gift of leadership, but when it comes to combat, she must rely on herself to persevere.
“Are you truly that devoted, Malik?” Joelle finally asked. “You would die for me?”
“You said you were devoted,” Joelle reminded him. “Aren’t you?”
Malik hesitated. “Would dying truly be necessary?”
Then there is the thief of hearts and the Seraph of lies rounding out the team of heroes. Joelle is the Chosen of Sune, the god of love. Malik is the Chosen of Cyric, the god of lies. They are an unlikely duo working together to try to serve their gods. When they join paths with Kleef and Arietta, it would seem to be divine intervention. But everyone has their own motivations which adds to the complexity of the plot.
Up against them in their quest is the shade prince Yder and an army of orcs. Yder’s inclusion in the story adds for some nice tie-ins, something this book does well. There are lots of mentions to events that occurred in Paul S. Kemp’s books in regards to Netheril and Rivalen’s incident in Ondulin. The Shadovar are taking over Cormyr and the story reflects that. There are also lots of moments highlighting the changes the world is going through, and direct signs of Aberil and Tori’s separation. Denning even ties into the previous book in the Sundering series, The Reaver, by including the Gnome smuggler Greathorne. All of these elements bring together the other stories in the Realms and The Sundering to make The Sentinel feel like an even grander story. It’s not just a little adventure, but an observation and participation in the separation of worlds. History is in the making, and by tying into those other stories, this is the first book which really makes this feel like a series, like all those other adventures mattered and had purpose.
Without delving too much into more into the details, The Sentinel is a fun fantasy story that’s worth checking out. It has good characters, lots of action, and a variety of adventures as the heroes endeavor to deliver the Eye of Gruumsh in an effort to save the world. As part of The Sundering series, it does a lot to move the overall plot forward as the world’s split. All in all, I give The Sentinel a solid four out of five. It’s a lot of fun.