As the first stand-alone one-volume epic fantasy by the popular Eddings team (whose series include The Belgariad; The Malloreon and The Elenium), this hefty saga about Good trouncing Evil plumps an engaging young reprobate hero into the arms of aDliterallyDdivine feline heroine. A professional thief and occasional murderer, Althalus accepts a commission to steal a supernatural tome known as the Book. When he arrives at the mysterious House at the End of the World, a lissome black cat with emerald eyes turns out to be the fertility goddess Dweia. Together they enlist a Mission Improbable team to out-sorcel the assorted villains marshaled by the sorcerer Ghend, who is bent on converting this medieval-like world from the worship of Dweia's good god-brother, Deiwos, to awful servitude under their wicked sibling Daeva. Plenty of derring-do spices up the first two-thirds of this jolly romp, and some zingy flashes of wit home in neatly on stuffy human institutions like overorganized religion and landed aristocracies. Unfortunately, the Eddingses can't resist a lengthy time-traveling reprise, which drags the story down into so-so conventionality. Though the Eddingses' multitudinous fans will likely feel right at home here in their safely magical realm of good-natured fun, this circle of would-be faerie has been trodden so often that here it yields very little deep-rooted literary greenery to munch on or to savor, still less to ruminate upon. (Dec. 26)
Reviewed on: 12/04/2000 Release date: 12/01/2000 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.