cover image The Well of Tears: Book Two of the Crowthistle Chronicles

The Well of Tears: Book Two of the Crowthistle Chronicles

Cecilia Dart-Thornton, . . Tor, $27.95 (480pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1206-8

Australian author Dart-Thornton's ponderous second fantasy is set in the world of Tir (after 2005's The Iron Tree ), where the fulfillment of a tragic prophecy has left Jewel an orphan. The last descendant of Janus Jaravhor, the Sorcerer of Strang, she alone can unseal the Dome of Strang and reveal its treasures. Fleeing her marshland home, Jewel finds sanctuary with a miller's family in High Dairioneth, where she grows to maturity. Persuaded by transparent trickery that her ancestral curse has been lifted, she travels to the dome determined to acquire whatever lies within. Accompanied by Arran Stormbringer, a weather mage, she's oblivious to his love for her. Jewel gradually becomes aware of Arran's feelings, but the romance is minimal. Despite some imaginative flashes, the poetic pseudo-medieval style exasperates more than it delights and further burdens a plot already weighed down with needless scenes and reiteration. An interactive CD-ROM brings Tir visually to life. (Feb.)