Magician's Gambit is the third book of the 'Belgariad' series, and chronicles the continued adventure of Garion and his companions through the richly detailed world created by David Eddings (with uncredited help from his wife).
Once again Eddings picks up the story immediately following the events of Queen of Sorcery
as the travelling party makes its way northeast towards the central states of the 'Kingdoms of the West' as they chase the man who has taken the stolen magicical artefact from its original thief. The travelling party changes as one new member is added, while two others either remain behind or sent off to 'report back' on the progress of the quest.
In some respects this book is probably the slowest of the series to date, as it feels as though the majority of it is simply 'filler' for the sake of drawing out the story. At the same time the tension slowly builds towards a climatic battle in the last few chapters of the book.
I decided to go back and re-read (and review) this book (and series) as it was a much read and loved favourite from my teen years. I probably read and re-read this series more than a dozen times between it's release and my 21st birthday, and it is probably one of the primary reasons for my love of the epic/high fantasy genre.
Over 20 years later, and with a much broader experience of various writing styles and genres, I can identify numerous things that differentiate Eddings' style from the more 'Epic' styles of Tolkein or Robert Jordan, or even George R.R. Martin.
One of these faults is that, although set richly detailed world, the characters sometimes seem bland and one-dimensional. Another is what many consider to be the now cliched use of prophecy as a vehicle for the plot.
These 'faults' may prevent others from categorising the story as Epic Fantasy. However, this is a book (and series) which I still truly believe sits square in the 'Epic' or 'High' fantasy genre.