Healing Stone Books, 2008, $16.95
On Azgard, Lord James Mordecai recognizes adult physician Helen Andros as his daughter from a liaison with Miriam Andros (see Vision). However, their union is not harmonious as each brings a different past to the father daughter relationship. He demands offspring loyalty and she wants much more from him.
Meanwhile Exalted Lord Toltec King has healed from his debilitating drug induced coma and is interested in Helen's skills as a natural healer and as a surgeon as she brought him back to the living. He orders her to marry her second cousin Lord Justin Atlas. She now knows the Green Stone she wears enhances her medical abilities, but is unsure why. However, she is worried about what will happen to her father, who stands trial for seditious acts. At the same time Justin’s father Prince Enoch Atlas believes he is finding the secrets of the priests of the Temple of Kronos in the use of life and death kura energy, which if successful will further his ambition.
The second Green Stone of healing tale is a terrific fantasy starring a large cast held strongly together by the confused heroine. The story line is fast-paced throughout and never slows although much goes on in several subplots. Enoch is a great villain with plans to raise himself and his House to the Exalted Lord level as C.L. Talmadge continues to expand on her deep political fantasy that requires the audience to read the first tale in what is so far a great saga. Harriet Klausner
The Poison Throne
Orbit, Apr 7 2010, $14.99
Dying Lorcan Moorehawke returns from the Northland after a five year mission accompanied by his fifteen year old daughter Wynter to their former home Kingcourt, but are not welcomed as befits the Protector should be. That is they feel unwelcome until Victuallor Heron greets them warmly.
Wynter is stunned with changes at Kingcourt as everyone fears the king with good cause as he has turned brutal. His heir Alberon was forced to flee for his life and his other son Alberon's half-brother Razi sits uncomfortably on the regal Chair that belongs to his sibling while trying to remain loyal to his older brother and his sire; not an easy task. Razi welcomes home his childhood friend Wynter at a time rebellion and civil war seems imminent with the kingdom split in two between loyalists to a mad monarch and rebels. Wynter will soon find herself caught in the crosshairs of this division between her father loyal to the king and Razi and his cohort Christopher Garron considering the overthrow of the monarch.
This is a superb young adult political fantasy filled with plenty of intrigue as everyone at Kingcourt is impacted by the ruler’s apparent insanity. The story line fast-paced, but loaded with a strong cast who brings out the depth of life in a dictatorial deadly monarchy. Young teen readers will relish the courageous escapades of the heroine who must choose between her father and her kingdom. Harriet Klausner
Full Moon City
Darrell Schweitzer and Martin H. Greenberg (Editors)
Gallery (Pocket), Mar 9 2010, $15.00
Full Moon City contains fourteen dark werewolf and one leaning more towards vampire (Darrell Schweitzer’s “Kvetchula’s Daughter”) urban fantasies written by some of the genre’s most renowned authors. None are clinkers, but only a few can be considered as super. For the most part the environs are places not anticipated in werewolf tales such as the Plaza Hotel in Esther M. Friesner’s where “No Children, No Pets” prevail but six years old Emmeline lives next door in Central Park; at Houston Community College where the Lycanthropy Support Group meets in “The Truth About Werewolves” by Lisa Tuttle and Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty returns to Vegas in “Kitty learns the Ropes”. More typical locales are used too but less frequently like in Ian Watson’s “The Weredog of Bucharest”; the Bayou is the setting for Peter S. Beagle’s “La Lune D’Attend” and Hollywood in “I Was a Middle Aged Werewolf” by Ron Goulart. In my opinion the best contribution is Holly Black's “The Aarne-Thompson Classification Revue” as the werewolf actress looks deeply at conversion. Overall this is a very good collection worth reading only by fans of the modern take on the werewolf mythos. Harriet Klausner