Darksong Rising

L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Author Tor Books $27.95 (507p) ISBN 978-0-312-86822-2
The third volume of Modesitt's popular Spellsong Cycle may be its conclusion, but enough loose ends remain to both create realism and allow another trilogy--a felicitous combination for a saga in which music is a source of magic and a bereaved voice teacher from Iowa becomes a mighty ruler. Anna Marshall is now undisputed regent of the fantastic realm of Defalk. Everyone there seems to want their own way in spite of her authority, however, starting with Jimbob, the youthful heir to Defalk who is now well into his teens and suffering from an excess of male pride and adolescent enthusiasm. Keeping him out of trouble creates numerous diverting episodes, as do the intrigues of various nobles, local and foreign, who cannot deny either Anna's power as a wizard or their own distaste for obeying a woman. The Defalkan musicians, the accompanists to Anna's magic, are loyal--but small-group politics afflict even their ranks. Indeed, the suspense and tension in Anna's situation is created largely by her having more to do than any three people could, even without opposition--and she meets resistance at every turn. Modesitt's knowledge of academic politics is also a fruitful source of plot complications. Despite a somewhat episodic treatment and occasional plot lags, this novel is yet further evidence that Modesitt can tell an entertaining story, with panache. Author tour. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/29/1999
Release date: 12/01/1999
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