Storyline: Loner though he may be, Captain Vinyanel Ecleriast knows he cannot hope to accomplish his newest mission on his own. He and his comrades have managed to avert the disaster of their king’s abduction, but all is not well in the elven capital of Delsinon. Six precious Talismans of Passage slip farther from the elves’ grasp with each moment they contemplate a solution. Vinyanel’s superiors send him to reclaim what enemies have stolen.
He assembles an unlikely squadron and leads them from the back of his silver dragon mount and friend, Majestrin. Their guide: a rogue who once attempted Vinyanel’s assassination. A stealthy marksman, a bookish warrior who fights with grace, and a prophetess for wise (though sometimes annoying) spiritual guidance fill out the ranks.
The journey to the far reaches of the continent confronts Vinyanel with temptation, betrayal, and his own frailties, and all these threaten to unravel the mission. Acting as a vessel of justice is easy--but mercy? That requires a far greater strength.
A Greater Strength was longer than the first book in the series, Divine Summons, and this is a very good thing. It includes more of Rebecca Minor's lovely descriptions as Vinyanel and his team travel outside Delsinon in search of the talismans. I felt like I got to know the other characters, not just Vinyanel, in this book, and I enjoyed the opportunity to read a few passages from Majestrin's point of view.
Another thing that I was impressed with was that, despite the number of detailed one-on-one fight scenes (including two back to back) I didn't feel like they were redundant. Each one had a different element to make it interesting, and the fighting styles were varied enough that I didn't see lots of repetitious actions.
There is one caution I have regarding A Greater Strength. One of the characters, Sa'Diya, is a slave girl who doesn't necessarily wear the best outfits (one of them might best be described as 'skimpy bikini'). Vinyanel is tempted by her on a couple of occasions, and besides giving in to one kiss, stays pure. I appreciated the honest portrayal of Vinyanel's struggle, but these situations make A Greater Strength a little less family-friendly than Divine Summons. I'd probably feel comfortable handing it to a mature 16-17-year-old, as opposed to a 13-14-year-old with Divine Summons.
All in all, another wonderful fantasy. I hope there are more Windrider books to come, because Vinyanel and Majestrin easily fit into my list of favorite characters.
Rating: Five of five stars
**NOTE: For those who don't do e-books, great news! The print compilation of Divine Summons and A Greater Strength releases TOMORROW! I'm planning on buying it, even though I already own both e-books. :)