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In this middling sequel to 2007's An Unexpected Apprentice, "smallfolk" (read: hobbit) heroine Tildi Summerbee now has charge of the Great Book, whose Runes manipulate the Runes borne by every being or object in the world. When a young Knight dies after changing his personal Rune, she begins to understand the power she possesses. Tildi's protector, Abbess Sharhava, wants the book; so does the powerful and unscrupulous Knemet the Maker. Aided faithfully by the centaur Rin and a group of other friends, Tildi struggles to protect herself and find the honorable path. The story begins slowly as a great deal of background is packed in, but once the captures and chases begin, the pace picks up. Tildi's fans will find that the second book is more inventive, though dulled by pedestrian prose and cliché. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.