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From Barnes & NobleRussell's first hardcover venture is a return to the world he created in his previous two novels, World Without End and Sea Without A Shore -- but instead of going forward, he goes back in time to the tale of the mysterious Erasmus Flattery and his tangled relationship with Lord Eldritch -- much of which he's not sure he understands himself. Lord Eldritch has made the destruction of magic from the world of man his life's work -- and he is a mage, with all the mystery that implies in Russell's world. There is love here and betrayal, intrigue and the building of friendship and trust, all deftly handled. Characters are Russell's strength, and if you find this book slow to start it's because he's laying the groundwork by creating characters that are sympathetic enough to drag a reader through the book in one sitting. The only flaw -- if it can be counted a flaw -- is that this is the first of two books, and when you reach the end of it, you really want the second one.