This rousing and complex good-against-evil battle, which concludes Berg’s voluminous quasi-Renaissance epic fantasy trilogy (after The Spirit Lens and The Soul Mirror), centers on Dante, a blind and irascible practitioner of soul-shaking magic now feared by almost all of his splendidly detailed world. In the aether, the medium of souls, he met courageous noblewoman Anne de Vernase, who saved him from madness and evil. Now they join familiar companions in a quest to defend the world against a new supernatural threat, which strikes before they can recover from the previous battle. Though Berg’s enormously complex plot demands acquaintance with the previous installments, her insight into the nature of human good and evil, the constantly ebbing and flowing relationships among lovers and friends, and the interplay of the mythic with the world of the senses consistently raises this novel above sword-and-sorcery routine. Agent: The Knight Agency. (Jan.)
Condemned by Temple, King, and the Camarilla Magica for crimes committed through necromancy, the mage Dante, now blind after being maimed by his enemies, attempts redemption by instructing noble-born Anne de Vernase in the ways of magic. Through her power, Dante hopes to heal the rip in the fabric that separates the world of life from the land of death, an opening caused by his own actions. When an imprisoned sorceress compels him through dreams to rescue her, however, Dante falls into a life-threatening trap and must find the way to destroy three ancient artifacts. Berg's final volume in her Renaissance-flavored trilogy (The Spirit Lens; The Soul Mirror) is a compelling tale of a man reviled by all but his true friends and the woman whose devotion may prove his salvation or his undoing. VERDICT Top-notch storytelling and in-depth characterizations make this series a must for lovers of period fantasy.
Final installment of Berg's character-driven sword-and-sorcery trilogy (The Soul Mirror, 2011, etc.), again with all of the main characters reappearing--even the dead ones. This time the main narrator is reviled, blinded sorcerer Dante, whose task is to teach practical, intelligent and skeptical Anne de Vernase how to wield her powerful magic. At length wearying of Dante's dogged insistence on discipline and control, Anne departs to visit her family. Dante, meanwhile, learns of a ghostly, pleading young woman apparently with the ability to project magic through dreams using a mysterious green crystal. The magic bound up in the crystal is utterly different than anything in Dante's experience. So Dante, despite knowing that the lure of the crystal is a trap, cannot resist seeking it out. At least he'll be accompanied by his old comrade, clownish chevalier Ilario de Sylvae. Another compelling reason driving Dante to seek the crystal is the puzzle of missing royal librarian Portier de Savin-Duplais. Dante's friend Portier may be immortal--and their mutual enemy, the malevolent wizard Jacard, aims to bury Portier alive to power the recovery of Jacard's uncle Kajetan (slain by Anne and Dante in the previous book) from a ghastly realm beyond death. Co-narrator Anne finally grasps the situation and sets out in pursuit. All these adventures are somewhat marred by an obvious spy to whom everybody remains stoically oblivious. The downside is the ending: The abrupt switch from two narrators to four serves only to obfuscate, delay and dilute the force of what should have been a shattering conclusion. Nonetheless, enthralling and not to be missed.
Praise for The Daemon Prism:
“[Berg’s] insight into the nature of human good and evil, the constantly ebbing and flowing relationships among lovers and friends…consistently raises this novel above sword-and-sorcery routine.”—Publishers Weekly
“An amazingly complex and rewarding story. The Daemon Prism is certain to reward the devoted students of the Collegia Magica trilogy.”—Booklist
“One of the best fantasies I have encountered in years…Berg takes chances with her characters…that leave them imprinted indelibly on your memory and heart…wonderful.”—Science Fiction and other ODDysseys
“Enthralling and not to be missed.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Filled with action and feeling as if it occurs in a Berg version of the Age of Reason, fans will appreciate this stupendous story.”—Alternative Worlds