The Riddled Night: Everien: Book Two

Valery Leith, Author Spectra Books $27 (528p) ISBN 978-0-553-37939-6
This second volume in the high fantasy Everien trilogy is a classic example of a fertile imagination run rampant. Leith (The Company of Glass) continues to tell the story of a war-torn, invented world. Combatants are still, as they were in the first book, on a quest for the lost magical Knowledge of ancient Everien. The wicked Pharician conqueror Tash hopes to use the Knowledge to create superior weaponry and bolster his rule over the resistance of the Clans; the downtrodden Clans are equally determined to recover the lost Knowledge for their own benefit; and the Pharician Empire is divided among factions that support and oppose Tash's rule. Istar and her foster father, Tarquin the Free, return to help out with the quest. Tarquin even travels back in time 1,000 years on his search. There are some delightful moments in this novel--including Tarquin's discovery of the time serpents and the ancestors of the Snake Clan (a discovery that hints toward future narrative developments). There's also a horse named Ice who doubles as the boy Kese; and a byrdgirl named Liaku who's master to the sapient Speaker byrds. Istar, meanwhile, is an honorable addition to the ranks of fantasy's fighting females. Although the book boasts a number of lovely scenes and compelling characters, it lacks a coherent narrative to join them all together--and anyone not familiar with the first volume likely won't make head nor tail of this one. A strong demonstration of Leith's potential as a writer, this novel also exemplifies the easy excesses of fantasy sagas. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 736 pages - 978-0-553-57902-4
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1577-0
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