Review – Davis Ashura’s A Warrior’s Knowledge
A Warrior’s Knowledge is the second part in the Castes and Outcastes trilogy by Davis Ashura. I greatly enjoyed the first novel, and was pleased to be given the opportunity to review the second. Since the story jumps in where A Warrior’s Path left off, Ashura provides a synopsis of that book at the beginning, nicely setting the picture for the ensuing plot.
And it doesn’t disappoint. Ashura has cleverly built on A Warrior’s Path, further exploring the relationships between the different characters and how prejudices are broken down both in Ashoka, and in the Stronghold of the Outcastes.
In Ashoka, mysterious deaths continue, with the corpses withered and devoid of moisture. Rector Bryce, the unforgiving Ashokan Guard and Lieutenant of the City Watch, sent to spy on House Wrestiva by House Shektan as penance for revealing Rukh as a ghrina, gradually comes to realise that the world is not black and white. With Mira as his interlocutor with House Shektan, he begins to understand that his family is also not as pure as he would imagine. And as Mira continues her investigations under the aegis of Dar ‘El, between the two of them they identify the leaders of the Sil Lor Kum, the hidden supporters within Ashoka of Suwraith.
For Rukh, our champion, he has been exiled and travels to the Stronghold with Jessira, the Outcaste he had encountered and saved in the first novel. There he meets with similar prejudices against himself for being a Pureblood, that Jessira encountered in Ashoka against the Outcastes. It is only through time and mutual understanding that the prejudices are broken down, although there remains distrust on both sides. Then, In a moment of happiness, everything is turned upside down, and despite the intervention of the Bael, the secret Chimera supporters of Humans, great tragedy unfolds.
Yet again, Ashura has built a story full of detail, each character growing and being fleshed out, and as their beliefs are gradually confronted, questioned and turned, so acceptance is gained amongst the characters. And with the clever use of Hindu beliefs within the Ashokan and Stronghold culture give at once familiarity and novelty.
There are one or two aspects of the story that seemed slightly disjointed, particularly where the Stronghold is found by its enemies, but the richness of the character development and the exploration of prejudice delivers a novel that holds your attention to the end and leaves you breathless, waiting for the final instalment.
**** 4 Stars!!!