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Packed with the lore McKiernan has developed in 24 years of writing about the world of Mithgar, this dense novel is set largely between Silver Wolf, Black Falcon(2000) and the collection Red Slippers(2004). The main plot deals with a voyage of the fabulous Elvenship, the Eroean, in search of wonder and adventure. Before the ship can set sail with a crew of fighting men and dwarfs, there's the obligatory tour through the countryside so that characters can reminisce about events in earlier volumes while picking up additional crew members, like a tiny, fox-riding Pysk and two gratingly cute, pointy-eared buccans. Meanwhile, the necromancer Nunde is lurking offstage, feverishly plotting. Appreciating the nuances depends on understanding earlier events; newcomers will find no footholds here. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.