Children of the Serpent Gate: Book Three of the Tears of Artamon

Sarah Ash, Author . Bantam Spectra $23 (516p) ISBN 978-0-553-38212-9

At the start of the rousing conclusion to Ash's fantasy trilogy (after 2004's Prisoner of the Iron Tower ), King Enguerrand of Francia has the five Tears of Artamon, the magical jewels that give their possessor claim to Novaya Rossiya. This means a crisis for Novaya Rossiya's Emperor Eugene, particularly since the Francians have kidnapped his chief magus, Kaspar Linnaius, and are going to burn him at the stake. Eugene makes an alliance of convenience with Gavril Nagarian, Lord Drakhaon of Azhkendir, who goes to Kaspar's rescue. Meanwhile, Gavril's prematurely aged lover, Kiukiu, must travel just as far in the opposite direction to find a cure; Eugene's pregnant empress, Astasia, runs away to Francia; and Eugene's daughter, Karila, has to go into hiding from would-be usurpers. The large cast may be hard to follow for new readers, but is uniformly well-developed and convincing, as is the whole world of the trilogy, with its vivid 18th-century European flavor and fallen angels who evoke Paradise Lost . Lovers of big, complex fantasy sagas (think Robert Jordan or George R.R. Martin) will be well pleased. Agent, Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House . (Sept. 27)

Reviewed on: 08/15/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
Paperback - 747 pages - 978-0-553-81472-9
Ebook - 510 pages - 978-0-553-90197-9
Hardcover - 429 pages - 978-0-593-04985-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 609 pages - 978-0-553-58623-7
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