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Friedman delivers a rushed second installment of the Magister Trilogy (after 2008's Feast of Souls), set in a casually grim world where cloak-and-dagger political intrigue is necessary for survival. Kamala, witch turned immortal Magister, flees north to the barrier called the Wrath of the Gods in a desperate attempt to uncover the truth about how the mysterious Souleaters were once defeated. What she learns soon leads her to a dire prophecy that paves the way to war. Heroes and villains (if such terms make sense in this morally gray world) struggle with difficult and often sinister decisions, and while strong female characters dominate, male characters remain underdeveloped. Beautifully written but too short, this volume falls victim to overly simplistic plotting, and many unresolved questions await book three. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.