The Gods of Amyrantha
Tor, Jul 21 2009, $27.95
The Ice Duchess of Lebec, wife of the Kingdom of Glaeba's heir Duke Stellan and renowned ancient Amyranthan scholar Arkady Desean determines that the immortal Tide Lords must die as they will never stop their efforts to take control of the world. As she ponders how does a mortal kill an immortal, the kingdom’s spymaster Declan Hawkes tests one scheme after another to destroy the Tide Lords.
As Declan's efforts fail, he hides his admiration and desire for Arkady. Meanwhile Tide Lord Cayal courts Arkady while still considering suicide as he has contemplated since the kingdom tried hanging him (see THE IMMORTAL PRINCE). Increasingly the Tide Lord created human-beasts Crasii are secretly defying their masters while the Tide Lords are preparing to walk the earth as its rulers once again..
The second Tide Lords fantasy thriller is overall an exhilarating entry though the overarching theme does not move forward that much. The story line is loaded with subplots in which the best ones involve the big schemes of the Time Lords and their opponents. Some fluff like events in the harem feel underneath the prime level so it only serve as a detractor. Still THE GODS OF AMYRANTHA is a fine entry as the confrontation is coming. Harriet Klausner
Orb (Tor), Jul 7 2009, $15.95
The nuclear war between the two American continents changed the world dramatically as the aftermath populations in major cities went from seven digits to three digits or less. Yet humanity somewhat someway sort of survived as civilization evolved in a post apocalyptic world; though devolved might be more accurate.
In that new world order in Minnesota, Sparrow works the night Fair stock exchange as a trader. His specialty is pre-nuke videos and CDs that are rare. As a hustler Sparrow knows what to avoid and when to get out. Thus his being wanted by two rival Horsemen surprises him as he knows to stay away from those powerful telepaths who changed the planet when they caused the war. Still in spite of his efforts to simply survive by selling Big Bang ticket items, the androgynous Sparrow is caught for having information on the Horsemen. They separately are coming for him while working on his mind before he can sell to the highest bidder.
This is a reprint of an enjoyable 1991 young adult post apocalyptic chronicle. The story line is fast-paced, but Sparrow makes the tale work as he has adapted to the new world order of surviving by selling the pre-nuke merchandise before he gets caught up in the Horsemen scenario. The tale holds up nicely as Emma Bull used refreshing spins like the war of the Americas. Readers (and not just “technophiles”) who enjoy a tense post nuclear world thriller will want to peruse Sparrow’s saga of survival. Harriet Klausner
Baour: Strands of Death
Blackwyrm, Apr 2009, $11.95
In the village Barnsby, Baour the necromancer stands trial for defying the Laws of God by performing death magic. The judge Reald, who is actually a scribe but temporarily appointed in charge of the trial of the century, asks the dark mage how he pleads. Baour shocks the judge, the villagers in attendance and the three priests when he proclaims he is guilty. Reald explains that the King’s Law means death if the court agrees with his statement and that he should reconsider his plea; Baour confidently sates he is guilty but will be freed by the trial’s end as he insists he is not bound by Gealius Divine authority; the three priests elderly Eldried, middle age Ignetius and young Therionald are insulted and say so.
The first witness is the witch Esmeralda who believes Baour killed her only friend Ewella. She soon explains how the necromancer became her lover, is the most powerful string manipulator she knows, and wasforced by Baour to testify how she broke the law when she brought back Ewella back from the dead. Next on the witness stand is Roaldus the tailor who also places Baour in a mixed light of death and yet no evil. The trial continues.
This super fantasy legal thriller is filled with twists and spins that even Baour did not always anticipate while he orchestrated his trial is a fantastic refreshing tale. The story line is character driven as the witnesses tells what they know of the accused and in between Baour adds to the picture. With a great final twirl that will stun the audience in spite of being interwoven throughout the enjoyable tale, fans will appreciate Dirk Vandereyeken’s excellent one sitting saga. Harriet Klausner
Berkley, Jun 2009, $7.99
After watching the woman attend the funeral of her foster mother, Duskoff International CEO Stefan Faucheux kidnaps the grieving Sarafina Connell and her dog Gossett. He insists she is a fire witch; she laughs at him thinking a madman has abducted her. However, his assertion has her thinking back to when her insane biological mom died in a fire.
A coven led by earth witch Theo Winters storms Faucheaux’s compound. They take Sarafina with them as their prisoner. Theo and his cohorts assume she is in cahoots with the vile CEO. Sarafina informs her hosts that her former host had Bai an Atrika demon with him. The coven panics because Bai should never have been able to cross the barrier between the mortal and demon realms while also wondering why they are interested in Sarafina. Theo knows deep in his gut why he is interested in Sarafina besides her connection to Faucheux though he denies it even to himself.
The final Elemental Witches urban romantic fantasy (see WITCH HEART, WITCH FIRE, and WITCH BLOOD) is an excellent finish to a strong saga. The story line is action packed from just after Sarafina buries her foster mother and never slows down as the major strings (mostly paranormal) from the previous three tales are tied up nicely. Though newcomers would be better off starting with the previous novels to better understand the overarching plot that WITCH FURY closes, Anya Bast is at her best with the final Elemental Witch thriller. Harriet Klausner