A Wizard and a Warlord

Christopher Stasheff, Author Tor Books $22.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-312-86649-5
Magnus d'Armand, son of the warlock from Stasheff's popular The Warlock in Spite of Himself, travels the galaxy to save Terran colony worlds ruled by corrupt governments. The seventh novel in the Chronicles of the Rogue Wizard (after A Wizard in Midgard) finds Magnus--aka Gar Pike--and his Midgard-born companion, Alea Larsdattar, exploring a planet with no apparent government. The colonial society seems placid, prospering at a Neolithic level, with the world populated by small farming villages. The only technology is in the hands of priestesses who believe each machine and bit of hoarded knowledge is magic from their gods. Unwilling to take the culture's peaceful nature at face value, Gar and Alea travel the land to learn more. A local warlord threatens villages, yet no one seems concerned. Villagers assure Gar that if the warlord becomes a real threat, he'll be dealt with by a mysterious group known as the Scarlet Company. Alea eventually solves the riddle of this secret organization thanks to ancient history books, and she and Gar meet the group firsthand as the warlord is finally, easily, vanquished. Despite Gar's previous experience, here he seems blind and deaf to obvious questions. Meanwhile, Alea's surprising encounter with a native whose life there precedes the colonists' arrival fails to add any real depth to the story. While Stasheff's fans are sure to want to read the latest of Gar's adventures, others will find the plot and characters lackluster. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2000
Release date: 03/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 224 pages - 978-0-8125-4167-0
Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4668-2645-8
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