The Warrior Prophet is the second book in Bakker’s landmark trilogy, the Prince of Nothing. As I wrote in my recent review of book one, The Darkness That Comes Before, this series has received much hype and critical acclaim. It deserves every bit of this, and more.
Bakker picks up the story where The Darkness That Comes Before leaves off; the Holy War is beginning its long march to liberate the holy city of Shimeh. Kellhus continues to learn from those around him and gains the trust of Mandate Schoolman Drusas Achamian and Conriyian Prince Proyas. Cnaiür’s prowess in war and knowledge of Kianese tactics proves valuable to both Kellhus and the Holy War itself, in spite of long held prejudices.
Great, tragic, and lucky battles ensue. The revelation of the skin spies remains largely in secret, but forces the hands of the Scarlett Spires into action. Kellhus’s influence continues to grow as he becomes a threat to the Great and the Holy War itself.
The brilliance of Bakker’s writing reveals itself in the simplicity of its presentation. By no means does this imply these books are simple. Logic and philosophy are the tools of Kellhus and a means with which Bakker creates immense depth and humanity to his characters and world. Religious parallels infuse the story and raise important questions about good, evil, damnation, redemption, and the origins of it all. However, Bakker is not heavy handed in his presentation of such important and often controversial issues. The story and its characters pull us in, and hold on with a tenacious grip.
Yes, I’m on the Bakker bandwagon, and loving it. He has lived up to and surpassed the hype, marking his place with the likes of the new generation of epic fantasy and fantastic literature. Bakker simply must be read. However, there is one important warning: the world Bakker has created is decidedly male. The books are in no way anti-woman, but the cultures of Bakker’s world are, and this can be difficult to stomach at times – of course that’s probably the point.
On my 10-point rating scale where 5 is a take-it or leave-it novel that is not recommended, and 10 is unsurpassed, The Warrior Prophet rates an 8.5. Recommendations from me don’t come much higher than that.
Related reviews: The Darkness That Comes Before, The Thousandfold Thought, and The Prince of Nothing Trilogy. Interview.