Genre: Sword & Sorcery, 16+
Publisher: Spectra (March 1, 1991)
Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
For years the provinces of Deverry have been in turmoil; now the conflict escalates with the kidnapping of Rhodry Maelwaedd, heir to the throne of Aberwyn. Intent on rescuing him, his beloved Jill and the elven wizard Salamander infiltrate the distant land of Bardex, where Rhodry is held captive. Tied to Deverry by obligation and circumstance, the immortal wizard Nevyn begins to see that all the kingdom's problems can be traced to a single source: a master of dark magics, backed by a network of evil that stretches across the sea. Now Nevyn understands that he too is being lured away to Bardek--and into a subtle, deadly trap designed especially for him.
Katharine Kerr's novels of the Kingdom of Deverry unfold in a world of stunning richness and depth. Her vivid portrayal of characters caught in a complex web of fate and magic captures the imagination with a realism that few can match. Now she returns to this enchanted kingdom, where the wheels of destiny are turning anew.
Layer upon layers upon layers of intrigue, mystery, love, and loss, in true Katharine Kerr style; fill the pages of the fourth installment of the Deverry cycle. Jill and Salamander embark on an epic journey in search of Rhodry. Rhodry has plenty of problems of his own while at home Nevyn hopes to prevent a civil war. Oh and did I mention an unknown master of evil who has plots of his own in the works? Can it get any better then this?
Page-turner would be an apt description of this book. With everything that is going on, no sooner is one question answered then another replaces it. Throw in a surprise ending (atleast it was for me) and you have everything you need to be truly entertained long into the night.
I did have one very minor gripe about this book. So minor it is barely worth mentioning but I am going to anyway. Jill and Salamander develop a unique and sometimes touching relationship during their travels. For the most part, it was a joy to read as they balance each other beautifully. However, Salamander has this annoying habit of calling Jill by a huge variety of pet names. Moreover, he never uses the same one twice. At first, it was cute but by the time they parted ways I was hardily sick of it. Yeah, I know, not a big deal and was definitely not a story killer but it did annoy me a bit.
The main storyline reaches a bittersweet conclusion. Several of the subplots are neatly wrapped up while there are enough unresolved subplots to make you look forward to the next 4 book saga. I have to admit that the mix of Sword and Sorcery with a reincarnation twist and Celtic theme has made for an exciting ride and I highly recommend it to all High Fantasy fans!