Spending time looking for work and doing Christmas stuff. Am finishing the new Peter Straub. Will have something for you soon.
May Earth Rise
Medallion, Nov 2009, $15.95
Warleader Havgan and his Corianans have captured the Y Dawnus druids and bards (see CRY OF SORROW). His victory has left Kymru High King Arthur ap Uthyr in deep trouble. Without these powerful supporters, he will fail at his quest to unite the kingdom under his realm. He and his followers must liberate them immediately, but have no hope of success as the mission is suicidal; yet without them they are dead anyway.
Havgan and his loyal wyrce-jaga witchfinders are systematically destroying all magic users except for the powerful traitorous Kyrmic witch, Arianrod, Havgan's mistress. The conflict widens with no one allowed to remain on the sidelines as many die; but increasingly the strife seems to be turning in favor of the warlord over the monarch.
The fourth Dreamer's Cycle Arthurian fantasy is a super entry filled with action, anguish, and strong characterizations. The humongous cast on all sides of the conflict makes the exhilarating story line seem real while also providing newcomers the back overarching theme (still worth the time to read the tales first). Readers who have not discovered Holly Taylor is missing out on one of the best fantasists today as her King Arthur saga is great. Harriet Klausner
The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart
Orbit, Nov 2009, $14.99
In 1364 the grim brothers Hegel and Manfried Grossbart, knowing what flows in their ancestral blood, decide to join the family business so they can make a fortune robbing graves. Their plan is to keep robbing graves while they seek their family heaven the Gyptland crypts. On their quest across Europe and the Holy Land, they receive help from the Pope, the Crusades, and especially the Black Plague.
Along their journey they kill peasants and demons with no regard to either species. Still they march on as grave-robbers and slayers of the innocent and the monstrous. However, as they argue theological dogma, the siblings dodging bodily liquids will learn death can be kinder than life.
Not an easy read especially on a full stomach, this blood and guts and blood and vomit satirical medieval pilgrimage is a humorous over the top of the Alps fantasy thriller; just don’t stay down wind from the slice and dice brothers. The grim brothers Grossbart are a gruesome pair with no redeeming qualities as their seemingly endless road trip is fueled by human liquid logistics, vividly described; sort of a 400 page story line version of the scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where the knight keeps fighting as he loses his limbs. For select fans who relish a high body count as the brothers grim learn there is much worse out there than death. Harriet Klausner
Seduce Me In Shadow
Pocket, Sep 29 2009, $7.99
Caden MacTavish fled his English home and his magic heritage to live in Texas. However, the only reason he would return home is for his brother Lucan, who is in deep trouble. Apparently his sibling mourns the loss of his beloved Anka taken by the Brethen’s enemy Mathias the wizard.
Wizard chief Bram Rion directs Caden to learn anyway he can what nosy tabloid reporter Sydney Blair of Out of This World knows about the magical species. He assumes very little, but Caden is stunned when he observes Sydney receive as a “gift” the stolen Doomsday Diary that used by the wrong people like Mathias will destroy the Brethren. Caden knows he must retrieve the diary, but also believes the current owner is his probable soul mate.
The latest Doomsday Brethren romantic urban fantasy (see TEMPT ME WITH DARKNESS) is a great entry due to Caden’s predicament; handled deftly by Shayla Black. He understands the mission, but also wonders what will happen to any potential relationship with his mate when he steals the tome because he will do his job as the alternative is worse. Either way he feels personally doomed. With a strong female lead, a despondent brother, a bossy head wizard and a diabolical villain to round out Caden’s feeling of hopelessness, fans will relish this strong thriller as the prodigal wizard returns home to face danger from without, from within and mostly from his soulmate. Harriet Klausner