The Mongoliad: Book Three (The Foreworld Saga)
Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland, Mark Teppo, and Cooper Moo
47North, Feb 26, 2013, $14.95
In 1241, the Mongol Empire horde continues their feral assault from the east on the European Christian countries. Only the Shield-Brethren company of warrior priests seems to offer any resistance to the Khagan Onghwe Khan and his invading army as the Holy Roman Church remains divided with Cardinals split into rival camps each claiming Jesus supports their quest for power. The resolute Shield-Brethren have doubts as they bury with honor fallen comrades like Finn.
From within the Mongol Empire, the desperate few surviving Shield Brethren holy knights (Raphael and Percival the initiates, Yasper the alchemist companion and exiled Old Man of the Rock knight master Feronantus) deploy a drastic dangerous plan to get to the Khagan. While each expects to die on the mission in the middle of the enemy’s ever expanding empire; in the Holy City of Rome the angrily splintered Cardinals turn to Father Rodrigo Bendrito who insists he has found the savior. In Hunern, the Shield Brethren led by Rutger the Quartermaster of the Rock Knight Master prepare for the war to come to them.
The Mongoliad: Book Three is an action-packed climax to an entertaining alternate historical saga. The storyline never slows down whether it occurs in the East, Rome or Hunern; yet also provides insight into thirteenth century beliefs as the forces of Christ are divided while the Mongols appear more monolithically in support of the Khan of Khans. Ironically, the myriad of subplots mostly are tied up in the 700 plus pages, but also several seem short-shifted. Still this entry and its Foreworld predecessors provide fans with a great epic. Harriet Klausner
Immortal Ever After
Avon, Feb 26 2013, $7.99
“Igor” came every night to give his caged female prisoners drug-laced oatmeal, fruit and water except the one his master chooses for his “night out” dining. This evening the vampiric psychopath selects veterinarian Valerie Moyer as his latest bloody snack. However, far from being docile, she stopped eating the oatmeal after her last “night out” Valerie surprises and stakes Igor. She calls 911 but the dispatcher thinks she is on drugs when she mentions six other women, stakes, bites and a vampire who has come for his meal. Wounded and exhausted, she escapes only to faint.
Monitoring the 911 call, vampiric enforcer Anders Andronnikov leads a team into the house. The vampire is gone, but they tend to the women and the police answering the 911 call. Anders finds Valerie and with Bricker takes her to home of Lucien and pregnant Leigh Argeneau. The enforcer also knows Valerie is his lifemate while the vet feels the attraction.
The latest Argeneau romantic urban fantasy (see Under A Vampire Moon and The Lady is a Vamp) is an enjoyable thriller due to the likable protagonists and a self-trained rogue vampiric survivalist. The sister bonding between Leigh and Valerie adds freshness while the horde of cameo visitors detracts from the plot. Still series fans will enjoy this engaging triangle. Harriet Klausner
Avon, Feb 26 2013, $7.99
In 2010 near Denver, fire chief Wyatt suffered injuries rescuing a woman from a blaze. The next day he kisses his wife and two kids as he leaves to join his friends exploring caves in Sedona.
Five decades later he and his comrades leave the cave to a world shattered by the Change. Feeling left behind as his buddies have gained supernatural powers while all he has is grief over the loss of his family and guilt for not being there when the calamity occurred, Wyatt lacks hope and detests himself for betraying his memories by his attraction to Remington Truth who he treats shabbily as a defense mechanism to avoid caring. Remy feels the same way about the only man she cannot understand especially his hostility towards her. As she heads to Envy, zombies and Strangers hunt for Remy and the crystal her late grandfather gave her while Wyatt’s compulsion to protect other propels him to find and accompany her.
The latest Envy Chronicles romantic apocalyptic fantasy (see Night Forbidden and Night Betrayed) is an exciting entry as the last of the Sedona fab five to star finds the truth sets him free to love again. Fast-paced with the trademark blighted land in the background, series fans will relish this entry as Joss Ware provides a strong thriller even if we agree with the heroine that Wyatt is a dick. Harriet Klausner