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The final segment of the Annals of the Chosen trilogy (after 2007's The Ninth Talisman) successfully mixes intrigue and adventure with ruminations on the nature of power and heroes. The Council of Immortals made the Chosen responsible for removing the ruling Wizard Lord if he should ever stray from just governance of Barokan, but the current Wizard Lord, Artil im Salthir, has killed or run off most of the Chosen, leaving Sword, the Chosen Swordsman, alone to plot his revenge. After a lonely winter hiding out in the Wizard Lord's Summer Palace, investigating the big flightless birds called ara and their natural ability to inhibit magic, Sword prepares to strike, with help from the local spirits and an unlikely alliance with one of the Wizard Lord's own henchmen. Readers who appreciate thoughtfully drawn characters and settings will enjoy this story of justice and revenge in an ever-evolving world. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.