A Wizard in the Wayand Space with Max Merriwell

Christopher Stasheff, Author Tor Books $22.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-312-86648-8
The latest chapter in Stasheff's ongoing Rogue Wizard fantasy series about well-meaning renegade Magnus d'Armand (aka Gar Pike) and his quest to free lost colony worlds from oppressive local governments stumbles in the execution, but is still likely to satisfy fans. Gar and his plucky female sidekick, Alea (introduced in A Wizard in Midgard), arrive on the forgotten Terran colony world of Oldeira to discover a medieval society in fear of its magician oppressors. These psychically talented men came to power in the void left centuries ago when Earth stopped sending supplies. They rule by force of minor psychic talents, commanding ghosts (the psychic remnants of dead colonists) and cleverly disguised technology to frighten the unruly into obedience. With help from runaway peasant girl Mira and young ""ghost-leader"" Blaize, Gar and Alea introduce the population to Taoism and the idea of balance in interconnecting life forces. Blaize's ability to lead ghosts and Mira's burgeoning talent as a wyvern wrangler come in handy as the team faces increasingly larger armies sent by wizard lords to quell the uprising. Fortunately, the peasants and ghosts are all willing and quick studies; most absorb Gar's version of the Tao in a few weeks or less. Evanescent, a catlike psionic who secretly stowed away in Gar's ship at the end of A Wizard and a Warlock, also manages to help the do-gooders without giving itself away. While Stasheff treats Taoism as lightly as learning to ride a bicycle, his fans are likely to forgive that in favor of his usual fast-paced storytelling, light humor and well-meaning heroes. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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