Temple of No God


H. M. Long


Science Fiction / Fantasy


Date Reviewed:

May 6, 2022

emple of No God is the second novel in the chronicles of Hessa, the High Priestess of the Eangen tribe. In book one, there was a war amongst the gods and demigods. Now the mighty Arpa Empire, which stretches along the southern border of the Northern Territories (like all good fantasy novels, there is a helpful map at the front of the book showing the world) - is leaderless. Three powerful men are vying for the title of Emperor, whichever one succeeds will have consequences (good and bad) for Hessa and her Eangen tribesmen. But in order to assume the role of Arpan Emperor, the successful contender must be crowned in a temple that bestoys power on the newly ordained Emperor. But not just anyone can crown the Emperor, it takes someone imbued with magical powers, someone like Hessa (or, someone like her husband Imnir, who is the Algatt priest of Thvynder). But which of the three should Hessa crown, which man will prove to be the best Emperor for the Eangen tribes? The Northern Terriotories are not part of the Arpa Empire, but their proximity means that the affairs of the mighty empire has ramifications to them.

The novel begins with Hessa leading the barbarian Eangen on a raid against an Arpan village. But there she encounters strange priests, wielding a power that she does not recognize. The Arpan gods have all perished in, yet the mysterious leader of these new magicians, who calls himself Sirius, claims that the power of Laru gives him magic. Hessa is stunned by this unexpected threat - is Laru a new god who will threaten Thvynder?

One of the three Arpans vying for the throne, Bresius, wants to Hessa to travel to the Temple and crown him as emperor. In exchange, he promises the Eangen a benevolent Arpa empire. Hessa finds herself in position to be emperor-maker. Should she put Bresius on the throne? Or should she kill him and let one of the other contenders seize the throne?

Hessa and a small party travel across the Arpa empire, to reach the Temple of No God, where the power to crown the empire lies dormant. Hessa is horrified to see huge swaths of land reduced to ash and ruin - it is clear that the mysterious priests of Laru are sucking life out of the land to power their magical abilities. Can this new cult be stopped?

It has been only been about six months since I read the first book, Hall of Smoke, yet I did not remember most of these characters that surround Hessa at the start of book two. Book two begins several years after the climax of book one, so it makes sense that Hessa would have some new companions, but I did not recognize most them described in the opening chapters. Hessa has a husband, an Algatt leader, named Imnir? I don't him remember at all. So it took me a few chapters to regain my bearings and get into this novel. Long has described a vast landscape, and populated it with gods and demigods that are involved in the affairs of humanity. It is clear that there is limitless potential material here for further stories. If there is a book three about Hessa, I hope to read it.