cover image War of Shadows

War of Shadows

Gail Z. Martin . Orbit, $16 trade paper (640p) ISBN 978-0-316-27802-7

Detailed action and an extensive cast of characters are both strengths and weaknesses in the third installment of Martin%E2%80%99s sprawling Ascendant Kingdoms epic fantasy saga (following Reign of Ash). Disgraced lord Blaine %E2%80%9CMick%E2%80%9D McFadden and his associates, including the fabled Knights of Esthrane, are seeking a satisfactory way to restore magic to the lands of Donderath following the disastrous Great Fire and Cataclysm. As Blaine and company quest for ancient artifacts and texts, they are opposed by mage and former ally Vigus Quintrel, who wants to bind the magic to 13 presence-crystals and reign supreme. More action follows, with the heroes under attack on multiple fronts from warlords and shadowy entities with murky motivations of their own. Colorful descriptions of vivid battle and magic scenes, complete with terrifying fantastic creatures, and complex familial and political relationships will reward the motivated reader, but when characters speculate on the actions of their adversaries it slows an already unwieldy story. Agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Literary. (Apr.)