Storm Constantine, Author . Tor $27.95 (493p) ISBN 978-0-312-87328-8

Full of vivid and complex storytelling, this richly imagined, humane novel concludes the saga of the Magravandian Empire that began with Sea Dragon Heir and The Crown of Silence. The old emperor's death gives shadowy religious and political cabals a chance to maneuver for power. At the same time, personal cravings and sexual desires agitate members of the empire's powerful families, while the rival dragon-gods who represent elements of nature contend through their human avatars. Valraven (aka Lord Palindrake), head of the family once allied with the sea dragons, must first decide whether he wants to become the True King; then he must prove that he is worthy. Valraven's wife, Varencienne, also finds her role changing in unpredictable ways. Readers uneasy about entering such an intricate tale so late, however, shouldn't hesitate. For one thing, the author has a gift for creating compelling characters, whose motives are far from straightforward. Situations that seem initially to be sword-and-sorcery clichés turn out to be anything but, as Valraven and company discover more layers of meaning in events and have to reinterpret their own actions. Magic here is neither simple nor safe but an effort to tinker with powers too big for human control. As Constantine makes abundantly clear, even people who wish to walk the path of light must wade through darkness, especially as they try to escape narrow preconceptions. For all its strife, this is an affirmative book. Agent, Robert Kirby. (Jan. 10)

Reviewed on: 12/10/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 496 pages - 978-1-4299-7238-3
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-312-70411-7
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-312-87367-7
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