It has been decades since the last installment of Record of Lodoss War, so I was tremendously surprised to encounter a new installment of the manga coming out in 2023 – subtitled Crown of the Covenant. I’ve picked up the first volume, so it’s time to give my thoughts.
Crown of the Covenant moves the timeline forward 100 years from the end of the Chronicles of the Heroic Knight (200 years before Legend of Crystania takes place elsewhere). With the curse of Kardis freed from Lodoss & Marmo, Marmo is now home to a semi-prosperous kingdom founded by Neese The Younger & Spark. Each of the six kingdoms of Lodoss & Marmo are bound together through the Crowns of the Covenant – magical artifacts that were created by the sage Wort to prevent the Kingdoms of Lodoss from going to war with each other.
The story focuses on the youngest of the three Princes of the new Kingdom Marmo – Prince Lyle. He and his brothers, Alucia and Zayd, learn that the new King of Flaim (which was ruled by King Kashew in the original series), has chosen to be crowned with Kashew’s crown instead of the Crown of the Covenant, as he seeks to declare war on the other Kings of Lodoss. While Lyle’s brothers operate on their own plans to try and minimize the spread of the conflict, instead Lyle goes to the Forest of No Return to seek out Deedlit, the beloved of Parn, to seek her help to end the war.
As a first volume, Crown of the Covenant is very much about setting up a lot of mysteries – not only in the sense of finding out what King Diaz of Flaim is up to – in terms of any particular agenda – but also what led to the Crowns of the Covenant having been created, and if there was any secret agenda left by Wort. For that matter, there’s the question of what the states of the various Kingdoms of Lodoss are in now – Etoh was the co-ruler of Valis at the end of that series, for example. And additionally, hints are dropped in this volume that Karla, who had been finally defeated and her circlet contained by the two generations of the Heroes of Lodoss at the end of Chronicles of the Heroic Knight, is now back in circulation.
Atsushi Suzumi’s art is quite good. The art gives a sense of texture to the world that isn’t quite as… intense as either Kentaro Miura’s work for Berserk or Akihiro Yamada’s work on Lady of Pharis. However, it still gets across the grace of some of the elves we encounter in this story – not only Deedlit, but also Leaf (as a Half-Elf she is another of the Heroes of Lodoss who gets to stick around after 100 years), and some of the new characters in the supporting cast.
All of this said, there’s still a lot of setup and groundwork left to go in this story, so I can’t fault anyone from wanting to wait until a couple more volumes are out before continuing with the series from there.
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