Please be aware of spoilers for the previous two books in the series.
From the depths of myth an ancient enemy has returned: the Plague People, whose very presence obliterates whole villages; whose terror destroys minds. In their wake, nothing is left of the people, not their places, not their ways.
On the plains, the warriors and the wise of all tribes gather to confront the aggressor. Loud Thunder leads his great war-host south, even as Tecumet and Asman head north with the Sun River army. With Maniye Many Tracks, they plan to forge a new unity between the tribes such as the world has never seen. But will it be enough to stave off an oblivion that might devour even their gods?
Their adversary’s presence is like a wound in the world, and wakes all the old terrors and evils from the peoples’ stories. But before they can deal with the enemies without, they must conquer their demons within.
The Hyena and the Hawk is the third and final novel in the Echoes of the Fall series. A world filled with humans that take on the souls of animals with the ability to shape-shift into that soul is now under threat. With an enemy they once previously faced many generations ago, an enemy they never thought they would see again, Maniye and the many friends and enemies she has encountered along the way must attempt to put all their troubles and feuds aside to present a united front against a terror that threatens to rid the world of their Gods entirely.
Maniye has now fully made her mark on the world. Having embraced her new role as Champion of the Crown of the World (taking on aspects of Wolf, Tiger, Bear, and more in one), Maniye has now found her place and feels wanted by those around her. She has helped to make a name for her tribe who followed her to the south, whilst making new friends of the Crocodile and Dragon. But now, with a dark terror creeping up upon the Crown, the Plains and the Sun River Nation, Maniye is aware that there is still more for her to do, with a great weight sitting upon her shoulders that it is down to her to save the world from the loss of their humanity. Having re-read the whole series in preparation for The Hyena and the Hawk, you can clearly see the personal development that Maniye has gone through. From rebellious young girl to a mature young woman who knows what she wants, where she needs to be, and how to get there. Maniye can clearly taken on this new burden with the end of the world imminent and, with Hesprec by her side throughout, Maniye knows that the Serpent has something up her sleeve – doesn’t she always?
The resolution of this series was very well thought out and written. We are introduced to new characters and narrative threads that begin to help us understand the Plague People and their terror they instil in everyone around them; we are introduced to a people who know far more about the Plague People than anyone else and thus everyone begins to understand that making friends of their enemies, even for a small space of time, is clearly the only way to win the war. Though I wasn’t surprised or shocked by the ending of the novel, I did not expect or foresee the events to unfold as they did. It was not evident that such actions could occur which really helps you to relate to the characters and their knowledge that the Serpent always has a plan, but it will only be revealed when the time is ready.
I am genuinely sad to see the series end, though I would love to see Tchaikovsky write a novella or another story that gave more light to some of the topics mentioned, particularly in regards to the Plague People and how/why the Serpent were forced to move to the land of the Crown of the World, the Plains and the Sun River Nation. I feel like there is a whole other story there and that backstory really jumps out at me. I really enjoyed all the characters, past and presents – alive or dead – that played a part within the narrative. I felt that every character developed in a way that was realistically human and at a pace that fit with the events that took place.