Well of Sorrows
DAW, May 4 2010, $16.00
In the land of Andover, the Twelve Families of the Court prepare for a Feud that will eventually be an all out war tearing apart the country. Citizens from each of the Families travel on ships across the Arduon Ocean to escape the fighting and to settle on land promised to them. Colin Harten and his parents travel to Portstown, which belongs to House Carente, who does not welcome the refugees from the Twelve Families war or their allies.
The Hartens, who belong to the Bontari Family, are forced to live in a city where they cannot find work. The situation gets so bad that the Proprietor ruler of the establishment plans to destroy the Lean-to city where the refugees live. He tells the residents that they can go on a wagon train to begin a new settlement trying to be created by the Family and the Church. Colin’s dad leads the wagon train knowing no one who left for the Plains ever returned. They encounter the Alvritshi warriors who warn them to go back. However, the refugees decide to continue though afraid as they have nothing to return to. The Dwarren hate humans who betrayed treaties with them attack them while the dark forest contains Shadows who kill without leaving a trace. Colin barely survives but the Faelehgre spirits of light get him the drink of Life Blood from the Well of Sorrows. He stays there for several years and is no longer human. After six decades he returns to human lands and realizes there is no place for him but he is needed.
This is a huge fantasy in which the above paragraphs fails to even come close to what is going on as the details are extraordinary. Colin obviously plays a critical role in the Colonies now called Provinces. Using the colonization of the Americas as a background, Benjamin Tate builds his own fantasized world that seems real and most critical the three prime species seem genuine. Mindful of Kate Elliot and, Terry Goodkind. Fans will enjoy this strong thriller while anticipating the next installment. Harriet Klausner
A Taint In The Blood
Roc, May 4 2010, $25.95
The Shadowspawn were the ancient rulers of the world before Homo Sapiens emerged with masses of numbers to overwhelm and force Homo lupiens into hiding amongst the human sheep. Although cross breeding with the enemy has watered down the species with no known purebreds left, the long term strategic goal of the Shadowspawn is to return to the top of the food chain.
Wealthy Shadowspawn Adrian Breze wants no part of his hybrid species lofty endeavor nor does he want much to do with the humans. At one time he actually fought against the Shadowspawn who rules the Lupiens with an iron claw. Now he prefers to be left alone as he loathes both sides of the civil war. However, his twin sister Adrienne, though she detests her mentally weak brother, demands he use his power to further the cause of the Shadowspawn that she is a key member of. Knowing he will refuse to join her team; near Santa Fe she abducts his only vulnerable object, his human lover Ellen Tarnowski as his sibling knows he would move heaven, hell and earth for the pathetic woman.
This is a terrific urban fantasy that starts with a strong opening scene as readers meet the two females in the lead triangle when Adrienne kidnaps Ellen and takes off from there as S.M Stirling establishes his new realm. Although Adrienne introduces herself as his “evil twin” detracts from her belief that her species even “dumbed down” by intermingling with inferior sapiens blood is superior to the human purebred, fans will enjoy the threesome do their expected deadly tango. Well written and fun to read even with nothing new added to the sub-genre landscape, fans will enjoy the action-packed opening Shadowspawn act. Harriet Klausner
Magic On The Storm
Roc, May 4 20210, $7.99
A Hound searching for the practitioners of illegal magic use, Allie Beckstrom continues her training with the Authority. Obviously she is one teacher’s pet as her lover and soul mate Zayvion Jones is a prime instructor in her magical skills education. Allie believes she contains a segment of her late father's soul because she hears him “speak” in her mind.
The Authority leadership concludes a treacherous magical tsunami is heading towards Portland that will destabilize magic activity; it will take a powerful cohesive team to restrain it and hopefully contain it if scattering proves impossible. Allie and Zayvion are a major part of the wildstorm counteroffensive unit; but neither the professor nor the student realizes the worst treachery is from within the Authority.
The latest Allie Beckstrom urban fantasy is a terrific entry as all magical hell is heading to Portland where the lead couple on the front prepares for the “war” while seditious acts occur within the Authority hampering the efforts to prevent the deadly perfect storm. Allie has come a long way since she learned of Magic to the Bone; as her heart and soul has found her other while she learns to control her paranormal skills. This is a strong tale, as the magical world of Devon Monk seems genuine. Harriet Klausner