The Silver Stone

Joel Rosenberg, Author Avon Books $23 (296p) ISBN 978-0-380-97322-4
The second installment in Rosenberg's Norse saga depends too heavily on its predecessor, The Fire Duke (1995). Fencing instructor Ian Silverstein is drawn back to Tir Na Nog, a parallel world manipulated by the trickster god Odin, who is no longer all-powerful but still meddles malignantly in human affairs. Odin sends Silverstein and two faithful friends to quell an incipient war between the Dominions and the blustery Vandestish, who supply the fiendish ritual by which Ian is supposed to prove his heroic mettle. Following Ian by a Hidden Way in the basement of a North Dakota farmhouse, Ian's friends Torrie and Maggie, as well as Torrie's father, pursue a meandering secondary quest that allows for some steamy groping and a few flare-ups of feminist commentary. Rosenberg draws his small-town Norwegian-American culture faithfully, but the portrait clashes with clumps of fencing lore and colorless, faux-Tolkien characterizations. The undergraduate fantasy market at which this novel seems aimed might go for Rosenberg's imaginings, but they're hardly tantalizing or rewarding adult fare. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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