The latest volume of Silverberg's colossal Majipoor cycle (Sorcerers of Majipoor, etc.) makes a respectable addition to the series of fantasy tales set in a far-future, far-distant human-settled world. Just after he is crowned Coronal, and thus ruler, of Majipoor, Prestimion faces a number of problems. The treacherous rebel leader Procurator Dantirya Sambail has escaped from the royal dungeons, and Prestimion must pursue him across the vast face of Majipoor. A plague of madness has spread through his subjects, with more gruesome incidents cropping up every week, and Prestimion must struggle to contain it while he wonders if he himself caused the trouble when he cast a spell to make everyone forget the bloody civil war that brought him to power. At the same time, the Coronal is recovering from the death of his last love and growing increasingly interested in the graceful daughter of a boorish merchant. Eventually all the quandaries are resolved in a climax so fast and so furious that it is over before it can build up any proper emotional impact. Silverberg gives over much space to travelogues on Majipoor, a vividly described setting that is as captivating as any of the people who inhabit it, but he fails to spend the same amount of care developing Prestimion's character. In contrast, he does a fine job on minor players--the precocious Lord Dekkeret; brave Prince Akbalik; the two-headed sorcerer, Maundigan-Klimd; and Prestimion's brother, Abrigant. These personalities keep the novel lively enough to please Majipoor's many dedicated followers. (Aug.) FYI: Silverberg has published more than 100 books of SF, fantasy and nonfiction.