SHADOWSINGER: A Spellsong Cycle Novel
In this fifth and final novel in the author's popular Spellsong Cycle, an immediate sequel to The Shadow Sorceress (2001), Modesitt has penned a competent but pedestrian political-military fantasy thriller. There are few surprises in a world with wonders and limitations so well defined in previous volumes, but new readers may become confused unless they pay careful attention. Occasional hints suggest that the magic inherent in such artifacts as the scrying glass may have a basis in ancient technology, though it's doubtful that after the collapse of a technological civilization people would forget so basic an invention as the stirrup. Newlywed Secca and her sorcerer husband, Alcaren, in an attempt to end the military threat to DeFalk of the Sturinnese, carry war to their opponents' own island turf. As much as anything the book describes a war of the sexes, with the female spellsongs vs. the male sorcerers' magical drumming. Secca seemingly learns the true extent of her powers when she manages to vanquish the Sturinnese. Doubts about her stamina and abilities continue to plague her, however, when she next finds herself pitted against the world's most powerful wizard, who commands both conventional and magical armies. Secca faces her greatest challenge yet in a hard-hitting climax sure to delight established fans of the series. (Feb. 28)
FYI:Modesitt's most recent novel is the alternative history Ghost of the White Nights (Forecasts, Sept. 17).