When “The Forever Knight” begins, the revered knight Lukien is an old man. He’s got his share of battle scars, and only has one eye. However, he’s kept alive by a spirit that dwells within his magical sword. Lukien has lost the love of his life, and he’s bored with his immortality. He feels as if his life no longer has a purpose. In an attempt to find new meaning, Lukien sets out with a young girl named Cricket to find out the secrets of her childhood in the war-torn land of Akyre. Meanwhile, a tyrant king and an undead dragon may be the challenge that Lukien needs to rediscover his inner strength.
“The Forever Knight” is actually the fourth in a series, but don’t let that dissuade you. The book can be read and understood without reading the books that came before them. I haven’t read the first three books, and I was completely immersed in the story before I’d even gotten fifty pages in. The author does a good job of setting the scene and explaining the events of previous books, but by using Lukien’s brooding as a way to do it, the recap of previous books becomes an organic part of the story.
One of the most interesting things to me about “The Forever Knight” is that I didn’t find Lukien to be terribly likeable, even though I enjoyed the book tremedously. He’s a bit whiny and makes a lot of stupid mistakes which tend to hurt those that he cares about. He can judge people harshly and he can be self-centered. At the same time, Lukien’s personality makes the book more realistic and gives it more depth. He’s got plenty of flaws, even though he does genuinely care about protecting the people he cares about. There’s a difference between his intentions and execution, and that’s part of what it is to be human. Considering that Lukien is now immortal, it keeps him from becoming boring or too god-like.
Another thing I liked about “The Forever Knight” was the presence of GLBT characters. Without getting into too much detail, Marco’s gay characters are presented as complex human beings who are both flawed and heroic. Actually, the description “flawed yet heroic” could sum up most of Marco’s characters, which was one of the factors that impressed me so much about his writing.
A word of forewarning–people die in this book. People die in the previous books. John Marco isn’t afraid to kill off his characters in tragic and painful ways. There’s one particular part of the book that, if you’re at all like me, will make you cry. At the same time, I was pleased with the way that the book ended.
Overall, I’d highly recommend this one if you’re looking for a new fantasy read.