RULES OF ASCENSION: Book One of Winds of the Forelands

David B. Coe, Author . Tor $27.95 (608p) ISBN 978-0-312-87807-8

After a slow start, this sword and sorcery epic from Coe (The Outlanders, etc.) gathers momentum like a runaway moving van. Generations ago, the pale, physically weak but magically empowered Qirsi met defeat after invading the lands of the more mundane Eandi. Now the Qirsi are useful but scorned servants in a medieval Eandi society composed of minor rival territories, until they conspire to subvert the rules for choosing a new king so that a Qirsi can take power. Setting up the story's complicated background takes a while, and characters die off or are assassinated too fast in the early chapters to register. When a spoiled young Eandi nobleman is framed for his intended bride's murder in order to remove him from the line of ascension, however, the novel becomes absorbing. Here, also, the author's decision to create such a detailed map and history begins to pay off. The reader can identify with the characters as they struggle to sort through the different levels of plotting and manipulation ensnaring them. The falsely accused young man's story is just one thread of a densely woven web. Rather than being just The Fugitive with castles, the novel turns out to be about how uncertain experience is and how people need to find truth in the world and themselves. After this impressive opening volume, one can only hope Coe will keep up the high standard in the remainder of a projected four-book series. Agent, Lucienne Diver.(Mar. 28)

FYI:In 1999, Coe won the William C. Crawford Award for Best First Fantasy or Fantasy Series for his LonTobyn trilogy.

Reviewed on: 02/18/2002
Release date: 03/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 672 pages - 978-0-8125-8984-9
Ebook - 608 pages - 978-1-4299-1103-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-312-70556-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-5113-9706-3
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