Blood of Ambrose - James Enge
I've been quite fortunate recently in that my closest charity shop seems to get donations of science fiction and fantasy books I want to read, some of which then get recycled there by me once I'm done with them. This book is another from that source, an unexpectedly good example of the fantasy genre from a writer I hadn't previously heard of...

The basic premise of 'Blood of Ambrose' is that it's the story of two of the children of Merlin and Nimue, who are pretty nigh immortal and have a variety of powers - Ambrosia has been the mistress of a king and her descendants have ruled that kingdom for centuries even as she continues to live among them, while her brother Morlock is something of a bye-word for everything dark and mysterious. When the last of her line is still a child and his future is threatened by the man who's meant to protect both the kingdom and its king, young King Lathmar is forced to flee for his life.

What I really liked about this book, alongside the laconic prose, is that there's clear effort involved to make the main characters three dimensional. It would be easy to make both Ambrosia and Morlock caricatures rather than characters - Morlock in particular manages to escape his own reputation and end up doing things he knows he's probably going to regret, sometimes just because he ought not to do them. We also see Lathmar grow up, both physically and emotionally, to the point where he's ready to take on the role his royal birth has given him.

There are at least two more books already out featuring Morlock - 'This Crooked Way' and 'The Wolf Age' - if they're anything like as good as 'Blood of Ambrose', I'm more than happy to add another author to my list.