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Scholes's mesmerizing debut novel, the first installment of the five-volume Psalms of Isaak saga, launches him into the stratosphere of contemporary epic fantasy. Fueled by an impressively serpentine story line that explores deep philosophical issues of knowledge and power, the novel begins with a literal bang: Windwir, "the world's greatest city" and home of 200,000 people as well as the famed Androfrancine Order and its enormous library, is completely destroyed by a mysterious weapon unleashed by an unknown foe. Left oddly untouched are the Androfrancines' mechoservitors, one of whom, Isaak, may be the only one who knows what happened and why. Readers will be intrigued by the subtle, adept world building and ensemble cast of brilliantly complex characters, but it's Scholes's pure storytelling prowess that makes this tale of devastation and retribution so unforgettable. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.