Magician's Gambit by David Eddings - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoilt for you.
Ce'Nedra, Imperial Princess of Tolnedra, was confused.
Everyone knew that the tales of the Orb that protected the WEst from the evil God Torak were just silly legends. But here she was, forced to join a serious and dangerous quest to recover that stolen Orb. No one believed in sorcery. Yet Garion's aunt and Grandfather seemed to be the fabled sorcerers Polgara and Belgarath, who would have to be thousands of years old. Even young Garion was learning to do things that could only be sorcery.
Garion! He was nothing byt a farm boy, totally unsuitable for an Imperial Princess. Then why did she have such an urge to teach him, to brush his tangled hair, and to comfort him?
Now he was going to a strange tower in the centre of all he believed evil, to face some horrible, powerful magician. And she wouldn't be there to watch over him. He might be killed! She'd never see him again... From the blurb
The third book in the Belgariad series is just as awesome as the previous two.
Ctuchik, high priest of Torak is now in possession of the Orb after catching Zedar the apostate. Garion and his friends will now have to head to Rak Cthol, deep in the heart of Cthol Murgos, the home of the enemy, if they are to retrieve it. But first they must make their way to the Vale of Aldur where Belgarath and Polgara are to receive further instruction from their Master, Aldur. Their party is not yet complete, and before heading for Rak Cthol, they must pick up one other in the caverns of Prolgu in Ulgoland. Their search will now become even more fraught with danger, and if Princess Ce'Nedra were to accompany them to Rak Cthol, she will surely die.
Magician's Gambit the third book in the series, which means it's halfway through the story. Compared with the first two, Magician's Gambit feels a lot slower. For the most part, not a huge amount that's that exciting happens. It's not filler, because important things do happen within it's pages, but Magician's Gambit does feel like a book that's bridging things from the end of Queen of Sorcery to the beginning of Castle of Wizardry. This book is important; Garion meets Aldur, the whole party meets with the Gorim - the high priest, for want of a better term, of the Ulgos - in Prolgu, and they pick up Relg there. A few other imporant things are found out, but nothing tremendously exciting or dangerous happens until the last 50 or so pages. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though; it's interesting to see the chess pieces slowly moved into place for what's to come. It's a little more political and strategic, but not as much as the Elenium trilogy. This book is mostly maneuvering and setting up for what's to come.
In my review of Queen of Sorcery, I said that I believed the all of Garion's companions had now been at least introduced to us, if not all together by the end of the book. I was wrong. There are two more people to meet in Magician's Gambit; Relg and Taiba - I misremembered and thought these two appeared in the follow up series. Relg is an Ulgo and a religious zealot. He is obsessed with the sin of others, and the ways in which he feels he has sinned. The smallest thing is a sin to Relg, and he jumps back and forth between his arrogance over his purity superiority over all other sinners, and his massive guilt over small misdemeanours he fears UL, his God, will never forgive him for. As infuriating as he is, he's a funny character, and I really enjoy reading his arguments with the others over what is or isn't sin. He's also kind of handy to have around for his ability to "feel" where caves are, and to walk through solid rock. We meet Taiba briefly, but she is more prominent in the next book, so I won't discuss her here.
Magcian's Gambit ends with such a bang! It's so exciting! Probably the most earth-shaking display of power so far in the series, and it's just awesome! It's a big turning point for the story, and things are to ging to be so exciting from here on! A fantastic book!
Published: 1984 (my edition)
David Eddings' Website
My other reviews from the series:
Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad Book 1)
Queen of Sorcery (The Belgariad Book 2)