Charming Prince Garric, determined Princess Sharina and rejuvenated wizardess Tenoctris were hoping for a bit of rest after their last adventure (2007's The Mirror of Worlds), but circumstances conspire against them in this shallow conclusion to the Crown of the Isles trilogy. The conquered Empire of Palomir, unable to admit defeat, uses human sacrifice to produce an army of menacing Rat Men. Pirates wield the power of Franca the Sky God to bring forth a gigantic worm that feeds on entire towns, and former priests of the Lady of the Grove are entranced by a mysterious entity known only as the Scorpion King. Facing this triple threat with courage, ingenuity and a bit of fancy wizardry, Drake's heroes often glide too easily through their challenges. Though his characterization of women has greatly improved since the series began, most of the people appear bland compared with the challenges they face. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Rebecca Barnhouse
Seventeen-year-old Garric, a simple peasant boy, and his shepherd friend Cashel, leave their village on a journey into the wide world-which gets wider and wider by the day as they meet people of other races, nobles, wizards, fairies, and the occasional gory monster. Meanwhile, their sisters, Sharina and Ilna, seek their own destinies outside the village. Each of the youths has a past shrouded in obscurity, and all of them have some sort of power that they come to discover throughout the novel as they fight Malkar, the ultimate evil. Traveling with Sharina as her protector is the mysterious Nonnus, a hermit with whom Sharina has shared a bond since childhood. Garric has his own help in the old woman Tenoctis, a wizard. She helps him understand the dreams he has of a king from the old days, with whom Garric is somehow bonded. Cashel, too, has a helper: a tiny sprite who rides naked on his shoulder, invisible to most others. The action is fast, there is plenty of violence and gore, and many strange people, beasts, and monsters. Garric and Cashel are likeable, if impossibly dense, but Sharina and Ilna are one-sided characters who are hard to care about. The novel is "the first volume of a continuing saga." VOYA Codes: 3Q 2P S (Readable without serious defects, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
First of a fantasy series from an author noted for his military science fiction (Patriots, 1996, etc.). One day scholar Garric rescues a strange old woman from the sea; a wizard of feeble powers but deep knowledge, Tenoctris became entangled in a mighty enchantment a thousand years ago and was hurled through time. Later, a representative of King Valence shows up: Procurator Asera, along with the powerful but ignorant wizard Meder, seeks Sharina, not Garric's sister as everyone had thought but actually the daughter of nobles; she must be conveyed to the royal city Valles. Healer, hermit, and former warrior Nonnus agrees to accompany her. Garric, meantime, accepts a medallion from his father and is visited in dreams by Tenoctris's King, Carus, whose heir he may be. Next to arrive is the drover Benlo, another powerful but unschooled wizard, and his beautiful daughter Liane; Garric and his friends agree to travel with Benlo to meet the latter's mysterious sponsor. After numerous dreadful adventures, both groups will converge at Erdin for some explanations, and yet more puzzles. Shapeless and meandering, agreeable rather than compelling: hardworking but minor league.
From the Publisher
“One of the finest epic fantasies of the decade.” Piers Anthony
“Unlike most modern fantasy, David Drake's Lord of the Isles is an epic with the texture of the legends of yore, with rousing action and characters to cheer for.” Terry Goodkind
“True brilliance is as rare as a perfect diamond or a supernova. Lord of the Isles is truly brilliant. We are in at the birth of a classic....There is a lot of fantasy out there, but there is only one Lord of the Isles.” Morgan Llywelyn
“David Drake's work here is original, engrossing, and instantly credible. After all the hackneyed, repetitive fantasy I've read recently, Lord of the Isles seems quite wonderful.” Stephen R. Donaldson
Read an Excerpt
Lord of the Isles
BOOK I1When she looked at the game board in the first light of dawn, she saw that a new piece had been added. She grew very still.The game board was a vast slab of moss agate, its patterning natural but precisely chosen by the wizard who had cut and polished it in the ages before mankind. She kept the board secret, not behind bars and locks but on a plane of its own from which she alone could summon it for meditation.To an untrained eye the pieces were assorted pebbles of precious tourmaline, uncarved or barely carved by some barbaric gem-cutter with crude vigor but little skill. To a trained eye, to a careful eye ... to a wizard's eye like hers, the pieces displayed all the subtle differences of the living creatures on whom her will worked; the human pawns that she moved and her unseen opponent moved, and whose movements in turn shifted the pieces on the board.She had put infinite time and art into studying the tourmaline pieces so that she could perfect her strategy in dealing with the living beings they mimicked. There were hundreds of them on the board, all of some value; but the skill of the game lay in identifying these few pieces which controlled the path to victory. Last night there had been four.Two were pieces of great power. The hard, brittle stone of which they were shaped was sea green on one end, red with the fire of ruby on the other. The form of the crystals differed from top to base, and in aspect from one piece to the other.They were Halflings: the offspring of a human and a creature human only in shape, hybrids who had abilities which neither parent shared. They were not wizards, but they couldwork with forces no human wizard could shape however great her skill and power.The Halflings would be dangerous if her opponent directed them, but they had no art of their own. If she was unable to turn them to her own ends, she could at worst set them out of play.The other two pieces were spirals twined as though the pair had been carved from the same tourmaline prism ... which they had not been, could not have been. One piece had the brown metallic hue of a crystal with a large admixture of iron in its structure. It was darkly translucent, and shapes swam in its depths. The other helix was water-clear, though like water it had the least tinge of color; in this case the gleam of dawn's first rosy figurings.She touched her fingertip to the twin spirals. They felt cold or hot, but she could not be sure which; in all the time she had spent studying the pieces, some of their aspects remained an enigma. She must separate and examine them individually, for one was the key: the piece that would uncover the Throne of Malkar where Lorcan of Haft had hidden it a thousand years before.All the power in the cosmos lay with that piece, and the piece could be controlled. It would move as she directed or to the direction of her opponent, the hooded figure she sensed but never saw. There was no third player in the game!And yet ...This night between dusk and dawning a spike of blue tourmaline had appeared on the board in conjunction with the four pieces of power. She must learn what it meant, that slim piece, and still more the fact that the piece was here.She tossed a thin silken coverlet over the board and strode to the outer door. The only apparent bolt was a wisp of spiderweb, but anyone attempting to force the panel from the outside would find himself in a place other than where he intended--and very little to his liking.She opened the door. The cold-faced servitor nodded obsequiously."I'm not to be disturbed for any reason," she said. She nodded toward the tray of covered salvers waiting on the small table beside the door. "I'll be fasting, so get that away."The servitor nodded again. "As you wish, milady queen," he said.She closed and sealed the door. Her hooded opponent could not have placed the new piece on the board ... .And if not him, who?Copyright © 1997 by David Drake