The Dark Foundations: The Lamb Among the Stars Series, Book 2
Book two of Chris Walley's dynamic Stars Wars action-drama meets Tolkien-like theology tale continues the telling of battles between Farholme and an onslaught of demonic forces headed up by the Lord-Emperor of the Dominion, Nezhuala.
For a shocking opener, Walley sets the stage for the next warlike engagement against the once-innocent inhabitants of Farholme. Brewing beneath a thin veneer of respectability, the Lord-Emperor Nezhuala off-handedly offers his admiral as a blood sacrifice to the demonic priests. This command comes as a test to secure the loyalty of now fleet-commander Margrave Lezaroth, who, despite some misgivings, is driven by a lust for power and greed. Lezaroth swears his allegiance to Nezhuala and begins his journey to Farholme accompanied by battalions of man-made warriors.
At the same moment, another setting in a far-off planet offers a very different exchange between the leaders of the Council of High Stewards and the president of the Sentinel Council who assess the current troubling situation on Farholme, and they discuss whether or not true evil has returned and how such a spiritual breach and its unraveling after-effects will impact them all. Ominously, the leaders have a premonition that war will be forced upon them and they simply do not understand its implications...yet.
Just as these worldly leaders make their plans, Commander Merral D'Avanos is recovering from his injuries aboard the battleship. But time is pressing; Merral must rally the people for further attacks, defenses strengthened, all while fighting strange and troubling inner-struggles. An angelic envoy visits Merral from time to time during the epic battles on Farholme. Sadly, his own pride takes over at a key juncture and he dismisses the envoy's orders.
As the fallout is revealed, Merral and his friends each must continue to make peace with God and rely upon unseen spiritual powers for their deliverance. Countless skirmishes destroy the once beautiful landscape of Farholme, both inside and out, while Merral eventually comes to terms with his own inabilities to lead and govern this ever-altering volatile environment. He must watch friends die, homes being destroyed and faith summarily challenged. Leaning into his belief, Merral realizes that with battles comes losses in every shape and style.
A major rift in the expected defeat of Farholme disrupts the enemies' plans for immediate occupation. Still, Lezaroth escapes Merral's planet with hostages. Nezhuala has no intent of giving up on his ultimate goal for dominion. At the close of the story (and as a teaser for book three), Merral and his loyal team prepare to launch a rescue attempt in the depths of space where victory is less certain and riskier than any previous battle attempt.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on October 1, 2006