Monday, November 16, 2009

Interesting Reviews from Harriet

Here are some more unusual titles from Harriet.

Ken Scholes
Tor, Oct 13 2009, $25.99
ISBN: 9780765321282

Nine months have passed since the Y'Zirite cult destroyed Wendwir and its library containing the known knowledge of the Old World (see LAMENTATION). Now the allies who fought bravely back then have gathered for a joyous occasion at Ninefold Forest. They have come to bestow honor and their support to Gypsy King General Rudolfo and his wife Jin Li Tam as she gives birth to his heir Jakob.

However, that same Y'Zirite cult continues its reading of the Crimson Empress prophecy in which they execute the needed pre-events. Thus an invisible horde of assassins enters the gala hall and begin killing the attendees. Civil war continues to spread across the Named Lands while at the Keeper’s Gate a message arrives from the Churning Waste for the Hidden Pope. All this explodes as Rodolfo and Jin seek a miracle for their ailing newborn while the Y'Zirite Cult declares Jakob is the Child of Promise. To her chagrin while feeling alone and overwhelmed since her beloved prophetic dreamer Neb of Wendwir entered the Churning Wastes and she learned that the growing powerful Y’Zirite killed her Shadow Hanric, the Marsh Queen Winters knows the origin of the cult, which adds to her fear of doom.

The second Psalms of Isaak, CANTICLE, is an action-packed fantasy that grips readers with the opening attack and never loosens its hold until the Watcher places down his pen on the unfinished page. The characterizations are amazingly strong as the audience will understand the flaws and especially the trepidations of several key players. Ken Scholes is two for two with this exciting saga as his realm seems genuine and his cast real; all this with complete adventures and setting up the next tome. Harriet Klausner

Black Guard
Hideyuki Kikuchi
Tor/Seven Seas, Sep 29 2009, $9.99
ISBN: 9780765323309

For centuries demons have crossed over from another dimension into the mortal plane; their motives vary with some seeking employment opportunities while others enjoy dining on the human delicacy. The Peace Treaty has been signed between both sides’ leaders, but every century it comes up for renewal with the time now for the latest pact. However, on the Black World demonic side, opposition has grown with the desire to overwhelm the mortals and a key assassination plot has been deployed.

In Tokyo, the Black Guard continues their vigil to insure both sides behave and prevent chaos. Guard member Renzaburo Taki can change matter and is teamed with lovely demon Makie who fight against rogues mostly from her home dimension in order to keep mankind safe. Their current assignment is to keep sorcerer Giuseppe Mayart safe as he arrives in Tokyo for the peace treaty gala. Mayart executes a devious scheme starting with sending his protective guards Taki and Makie away from him so he can begin his Machiavellian plan.

With a comic book feel to the exciting story line, fans of urban fantasy horror thrillers will relish this gory enjoyable tale from the author of Vampire Hunter D. The story line is fast-paced as seemingly everyone involved with the “Signing Ceremony” has a personal agenda. Enhanced by black and white illustrations by Ayami Kojima, the first Wicked City saga is a thrilling dark entry. Harriet Klausner

The Golden City
John Twelve Hawks
Doubleday, Sep 8 2009, $25.95
ISBN: 9780385514309

Brothers Michael and Gabriel Corrigan are the last known Travelers, who travel parallel universes. They are on opposite sides of a war. Michael cooperates with the Brethren run Tabula, an international cartel seeking world command and control through the Panopticon. However, he has his own ambitious agenda to take control of the Tabula in order to begin his domination of the world through a fear technologically based propaganda campaign identical to what he witnessed on the Fifth Realm by demi-gods.

Gabriel has joined the Free Runners, who fear the increase in insidious technology that enables one too many spying, which in turn inhibit freedom. The Tabula name him an enemy of the state along with his allies Hollis, Linden and his beloved Harlequin Maya, whom he rescued from the hell of the First Dimension. The Free Runners must prevent Gabriel’s sibling from succeeding, but Michael and his associates control communication technology, which means the Tabula possess mass weapons and espionage capabilities too.

The final "Fourth Realm" thriller (see THE TRAVELER and THE DARK RIVER) is an entertaining cautionary tale that is timely as John Twelve Hawks overarching theme is freedom has come under assault by electronic surveillance. The story line is for most part fast-paced and filled with action although can get bogged down by philosophical debate. Still fans will appreciate THE GOLDEN CITY as freedom continues the uphill battle on this realm having lost on other Realms to technological dictators who make 1984 look like minor intrusions. Harriet Klausner

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