This is the first book in the series - chronologically; it is listed in publication order here. By this time we all know the big picture: the Drenai lands are overrun by an unstoppable force, the last groups of Drenai army continue desperate struggle against overwhelming odds, the simple farmers become reluctant heroes, etc. The main character of the book is an infamous assassin who managed to piss off almost everybody and is hunted by seemingly almost every single person in the world. A very insignificant event (he helped a tortured monk while recovering his stolen horse) set events in motion which gave him a chance to redeem himself by recovering a great relic for battered Drednai army.
The main idea of the book is about redemption. I think it is slightly overplayed as a lot of bad people start doing good deeds without any visible motivation. In the end deux ex machina is used yet again cheapening otherwise very powerful last pages. The character of Waylander himself is interesting, but I really wish the book would start earlier when he was still an assassin for hire - we only see his evil deeds in his flashbacks.
3.5 stars for a good book with some minor annoyances mentioned above which prevented me from rounding it up to 4.