There is a long wait in between books for each of Ron Glick’s series, but each time so far, the wait has been worth it.
Three is no exception. The aptly named third book in the Godslayer Cycle series picks right up where Two left off, with some background information to refresh the reader’s memory. Nathaniel Goodsmith is back home in Oaken Wood, along with the dwarf Bracken and the former priestess Brea. But Oaken Wood has become a place for pilgrims.
The Old Gods preserved Mariabelle, Nate’s murdered wife, so that when he finds her soul among the New Gods, she will have a body to return to. Understandably, this has drawn attention and people are now realizing the Old Gods are not actually dead. However, the large crowds attract new characters, including a young girl who happened to find the sword Three. Three has the special ability to time travel, and the girl, Alisia, has already been condemned by her father for wielding this power. Looking for guidance from the Old Gods, she accidentally ends up in the middle of a fight between Nate and Avery, bearer of the sword One and self-proclaimed god. This ends with Alisia sending Nate back in time, to meet his mother shortly before her death.
What happens next is incredibly skillful on Ron Glick’s part. Time travel is tricky to write, and in Three, time travel goes multiple ways. In addition to Nate being sent to the past, he also encounters The Eternal, a being who can only travel backwards in time. Working out how the two interact, on multiple occasions, is confusing to just think about, yet Ron has written it in a way that is compelling and drives the action.
In the meantime, Brea, Bracken, and Avery are left thinking that Nate is now dead, and trying to figuring out what steps to take next. They also have to deal with Geoffrey, Nate’s now grown-up son, who through magic has aged from three to an adult in the span of a year, and has been brainwashed against his father.
At times their storyline seems a bit slow, but it picks up when Oaken Wood becomes a magnet for the New Gods, namely because of Ankor, the Trickster God, who is posing as Hamil, Avery’s scribe. Not to give too much away, but there is an epic, satisfying battle involving the New Gods and the godslaying group, which finally answers some questions leftover from Two but also brings up new, interesting dilemmas.
Back in the past, Nate has to relive the events leading up to his mother’s murder. He tries to warn her, but even though she admits to being afraid, she insists it must happen in order for him to become the man he needs to be.
The chapter that describes Nate’s mother’s death and the events that lead up to it, as well as Nate’s revelation, is beautifully done. Nate’s grief and pain is raw, and in that chapter particularly it feels he has come to life. The bond between his mother and him, both past and present self, is strong and touching. And it drives him to keep going. I can’t wait until Four, when I can see what happens to Nate and his friends next.