Sunday, October 14, 2012

Robert Jordan, Anne McCaffrey and Bill Evans

The Great Hunt
Robert Jordan
Tor, $15.99
ISBN: 9780765334343

The Dark One’s minion Trollocs and Myrddraal raid Fal Dara where the heroes who defended the Eye of the World are gathered. The evil horde free Darkfriend Padan Fain who before fleeing the border village absconds with the Horn of Valere which when blown brings legendary heroes to fight the user’s side and also takes Mat's soul-stealing dagger.

Lord Ingtar puts together a team to include the three male defenders of the Eye of the World (Rand, Perrin, and Mat) to retrieve the stolen relics. At the same time their female comrades Nynaeve and Egwene travel with the Amyrlin Seat Aes Sedai witch Siuan Sanche to Tar Valon to begin their training.

The reprint of the exciting second Wheel of Time fantasy is an action-packed thriller especially when the focus is on the quest to repossess the purloined Horn and dagger; the female training comes across as weaker sister distracting from the prime plot. The different people met on the journey enhance and expand the Jordon mythos while the five heroes of the Eye of the World seem to have lost their coming of age maturity they obtained during their previous harrowing adventures. Still overall this is an entertaining quest fantasy that sub-genre fans will appreciate.
Harriet Klausner

The Girl Who Heard Dragons
Anne McCaffrey
Tor, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765333643

This is a reprint of a wonderful 1994 short story collection; only the title story occurs in Pern. "The Girl Who Heard Dragons" introduces readers to Aramina and her family on the run to keep her from being abused due to talent to communicate with dragons; to learn more about her fate read “The Renegades of Pern”. The space colonists find a planet seemingly abandoned for no obvious cause in "Velvet Fields". Combat Dr. Bardie Makem feels attracted to "A Sleeping Humpty Dumpty Beauty" comatose soldier. Humanity continues to expand across the planet leaving no room for large animals in the wild and consequently there are a dwindling few riders left in "The Quiet One." A woman offers "The Greatest Love" by wanting to carry her brother and sister-in-law’s fetus but charges of incest and adultery are filed against the trio and the Ob-gyn who performed the first such fertilization. During the Civil War, the Arab female slave protects a plantation’s residents horses included in "Zulei, Grace, Nimshi, and the Damnyankees." B&W drawings enhance the compilation that showcases the versatility of the late great Anne McCaffrey who wrote several other wonderful series besides Pern. Harriet Klausner

Blackmail Earth
Bill Evans
Tor, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765327833

Anyone who kept their head buried in the sand over global warming knows they were wrong as climate change has left the United States suffering from a horrific extended drought. While America is in a heated presidential campaign, around the world weather conditions are not any better as rising sea water from the melting caps threaten to submerge island nations. In the Maldives, al-Qaeda affiliates blame the West for the rising oceans that, if continued on its current pace, will submerge the archipelago. They plan a suicide bombing to reverse the trend from global warming to global freezing; The North Koreans also plan an even more dangerous assault.

Manhattan TV meteorologist Jenna Withers covers a story in upstate New York where she meets and is attracted to farmer Dafoe Tillian who has issues with pagan rites held nearby that turn ugly when their leader is murdered. POTUS names Jenna on a task force working to use technology to end global warming. At the same time reporter Rick Birk is in the Maldives on assignment.

This climate change thriller is an exciting tale as the several subplots begin to converge with Jenna as the focus. The entertaining storyline is filled with action from start to finish except for the unnecessary romance between the intrepid (way too skilled) heroine and the farmer, which feels more like a requirement of the genre. Still fans will enjoy the exhilarating Blackmail Earth. Harriet Klausner

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