C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp
Tor, Mar 2 2010, $6.99
The Sazi still struggle with understanding alpha werewolf Eric Thompson’s howling skill that somehow interferes with airwaves; his problem is though he can do it, he is unable to control his howling talent. Recently converted by a horrific assault into a Sazi, Holly Sanchez becomes a healer and is sent to the Outback to find Eric by Wolven
However, she has learned that a Sazi relatives support group plans to use an elixir on the werewolves that will return them to Homo sapiens. At the same time the scheme to resurrect Marduc the snake goddess is nearing fruition. Holly and Eric team up to prevent two probable tragedies from occurring.
This is a great entry in the Tales of the Sazi mythos as Marduc arrives on the scene seemingly invincible. The story line is fast-paced and filled with non stop action as previously secondary character Holly proves she with the Canadian wolf can hold an exhilarating story line together in Colorado. With no time to catch a breath once the lead couple meets in the Outback, readers will fully relish the latest Sazi romantic urban fantasy as nothing less than love and saving the world at the same time is at stake. Harriet Klausner
The Folding Knife
Orbit, Feb 22 2010, $14.99
Bassiamus “Basso: Severus was born to an aristocratic family in the Republic of Vesani. His father was First Citizen, but lost his position in the next election to an offspring of a sausage worker. He decided to buy up a bank’s outstanding shares. When Basso grew up he married the woman his parents chose for him. When Basso comes home one day, he sees his wife and brother-in-law having sex; he kills both of them.
His sister who Basso loved more than anyone else turned her back on him. However, he is the First Citizen of the Vesani Republic and owns the bank so still does his best for her. The only demand she made of him that he could not fulfill was to cut all ties with his son Bassano. The people love Basso and the House passes all the bills he presents to them. He knows the Republic must annex their neighbors to become an empire because he fears the Empire of the East, once it stops rebuilding, will look westward to places like Vesani. His first invasion is mineral rich Mavortis which has no central army, but a traitor insures his plan fails to execute properly.
Based on Ancient Rome, The Folding Knife is a work of exciting speculative fiction. The fascinating story line focuses on idealistic Basso the Magnificent who is a brilliant pragmatic strategist. He knows his decisions will cost lives, but though he grieves what will occur, Basso feels this is only way to save his beloved Republic. What his idealism concealed from him is that it only takes one mistake to devastate even the greatest person.
THE FOLDING KNIFE is excellent because of the great storyline, well crafted characterizations and a look into a fascinating culture. Harriet Klausner
The Last Stormlord
Orbit, Marc2010, $7.99
In Scarcleft City in the Scarpen Quarter, her father sells his twelve year old daughter Terelle to Opal's snuggery where she picks up dirty plates and mugs to be reused in the kitchen. Terelle knows that if she fails to escape shortly she will become a courtesan handmaiden just like her older half-sister Vivie who counseled her to accept the inevitable. However, the water painter gives her hope.
At the same time that Terelle considers how to escape, the Stormlord is dying and no one seems capablee of taking over his critical duties. Shale the low life has the gift, but lacks the training and being an outcast means he will never receive the training to control being a Stormord bringing the needed rain to the desert. As he wanders around while the current Stormlord nears death, the son of Granlon the Cloudmaster Nealrith Almondine and Kaneth Carnelian check levels at water cisterns to find each one at dangerous low drought levels. They discuss moral options while Taquar leads the tribes to return to the Time of Random Rain; to achieve his goal he must kill anyone who displays the watergiver talent.
This is a terrific fantasy that uses a dangerous drop in water levels to set up the excellent opening act of what looks like will be a superb relevant thriller. The ensemble cast is incredibly deep so that even secondary characters like Kaneth and the water talented female Ryka that he should marry come across as fully developed enhancing the plausibility of the story line of doom. In fact Kaneth explains the two extreme choices between allowing everyone to die slowly and mass murder to enable a chosen few high up in the water hierarch to live. Fans will enjoy Glenda Larke’s terrific relevant tale as the water wars seem imminent in the Quartern.