Tales Of Vantoria 3 - Dungeon Of Illusion
By Robert J A Gilbert
The city of Samsara beckons like a shimmering beacon of splendor high in the mountains of Peace. Upon arriving, however, Wenchel and his friends find themselves in the most undiplomatic of situations. Embroiled in a civil war, the city is anything but the safe and scenic waypoint for their next adventure.
Rescued from a half-mechanical komodo and his army of drone soldiers, the companions soon find themselves joined by Captain Grolit, a short-tempered rifleman, and Jeremy, an unfortunate boy caught in the middle of the fighting. Racing through the city toward a fateful meeting with the one woman who offers hope of escaping the enveloping turmoil and intrigue, our companions discover that nothing is as it seems in the city of splendor and illusion. Can Wenchel and his friends find their way to safety before a power-hungry tyrant closes his grasp over the entire city?
This third book in the series is not a disappointment as Gilbert again unpacks some timeless truths using adventure and fantasy. Individuals deal with grief of death, the value of friendship, responsibility for others, and keeping up appearances vs. admitting you were wrong.
The Dungeon of Illusion clearly depicts the dungeon we place ourselves in, when we try to put up walls and false fronts to make others think we are ok, when inside we are hurting and broken. The most poignant depiction of this Illusion is the city itself. Samsara in some respects resembles the human heart, white-washed and shining on the outside, but inside, full of turmoil and struggle.
This city is at war with itself. There are many battles, mostly against an army of robots and their cyborg komodo leader. Quite a few people die in it, but it's not described and there is no gratuitous harm to people.
None, really. There's a few scenes where a kiss is exchanged.
Truth seems to be the main theme of this book. Other themes that show up throughout are friendship, self-sacrifice, and taking responsibility for others' welfare. Not much scripture is employed but the valuable moral lessons in the novel are well-communicated.
From the unexpected arrest on the first page to the exciting conclusion, this book is a non-stop run-for-your-life adventure with twists along the way to keep you guessing. I thoroughly enjoyed it and gave it five stars.
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