cover image Limits of Power

Limits of Power

Elizabeth Moon. Del Rey, $26 (512p) ISBN 978-0-345-53306-7

Moon’s fourth fantasy novel set in the Eight Kingdoms (after Echoes of Betrayal) is thoughtful and deeply character driven, full of personal crises as heartbreaking and hopeful as any dramatic invasion. The Kingdoms are at peace for now, but challenges face Kieri Phelan, the new half-Elven king of Lyonya; his newlywed half-Elven queen, Arian; and Mikeli Mahieran, the young king of Tsaia. The Queen of the Elves, Kieri’s grandmother, has been murdered. Forbidden magic is suddenly appearing everywhere, and antimagic activists are executing those who display it—including children. Meanwhile, ex-thief Arvid Semminson, trying to make an honest life with his son, is hearing the commanding voice of the god Gird in his head, a dubious honor Arvid dreads. Moon deftly avoids big literary explosions, preferring instead a slow boil that builds pressure without relief. There are plots within plots, but the complex story is never confusing. Fantasy fans will be delighted by this impressive foray. Agent: Joshua Bilmes, JABberwocky Literary Agency. (June)