The Darkest Road is the final book in the Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay. Just as the previous two books, this final part is beautifully written with almost poetic language weaving together our world and that of Fionavar for the final battle against the darknes.
The time has come where the armies of the Light must meet against those of the Dark. But the Dark have an advantage in sheer numbers and hope is hard to find amongst the remaining four originally brought over by a mage to this new world. But the four by themselves are more powerful than their enemies are aware. Jennifer – otherwise known as Guinevere – with the fierce love of both a mother and for her two men – Arthur and Lancelot. Kim with her seer’s ability and Paul with the knowledge to speak to Gods. While without magic himself, Dave has proven himself in battle more than once and the time has come for the four to unleash what they are truly capable of.
With numerous allies by their side – including their original guide, Loren – the friends must take separate paths while they play their part in the war. Kim and Paul especially learn the cost of their power and how personal feelings cannot play a part in the matter when they have the power to change the fate of the world with how they react now. Battles must be fought and friends and loved ones lost if they are to prevail, but this grief is not new to the four of them now, not after everything they have endured so far. But when it comes to it, the fate of the Light rests not in their hands, but someone unexpected and random.
The trilogy is a brilliantly written one and this book does not disappoint. The twists and turns found throughout – plus the knowledge of the previous books meaning survival of the heroes is not guaranteed – means the book becomes impossible to put down as the reader along with the characters strives to see the outcome of the war.
A true credit to the fantasy genre, Kay uses language effectively in order to manipulate the feelings of his viewers. Moments are woven throughout that bring a smile to the face, but more often than not they are more likely to bring a tear as innocents are lost on the way in order to defeat crushing darkness.
Despite the complexity of the names and the creatures found throughout all three novels, the one thing that remains perplexing is the simple names of the two sides: Light and Dark. Nothing more, nothing less. However, due to Kay’s complex and poetic language in the rest of the novel, it offers power to these two sides; their true natures are exposed and revealed for all to see without the complexity of fantasy language.
For any fantasy reader – or, indeed, anyone wanting a tale of adventure, fighting, love and loss – this trilogy is a fantastic one and the final book does not disappoint.