With her people’s backs pressed to the sea, the Queen of a fallen empire convinces her high priestess to break the seal that binds a fell power. Locked away in previous generations, that fell power and her cousins nearly ruined the earth for mankind, and would have succeeded had not cooler heads prevailed. The terrible spirits of all nations were locked away as part of the titular accords, but our heroine’s people find themselves facing a terrible choice – accept annihilation at the hands of invaders, or save yourself by embracing a return to the savage ways of your ancestors.
That’s a dilemma that feels all too timely these days.
The faux-African set dressing works to lend this fantasy tale an extra level of remove from the ordinary, and Jansen was a knack for writing warfare in the spiritual realm that goes beyond the sort of force shields, energy blades, telekinesis, and lightning bolts typical of the magic duel genre. When demons fight, they fight a war to the hilt, and it is in these scenes that the story shines. The tale suffers a bit from the flat characterization of the earthly battles. A little more emphasis on the personal details, a few more moments spent with the people suffering at the hands of the invaders, or perhaps more signs of the rapacious nature of the invaders, any one of these would have anchored the story emotionally. We are told that the fate of humanity – or at least one nation – hands in the balance, but Jansen can’t quite deliver the sense of impending doom that would make this story truly shine.