cover image Nine Gates

Nine Gates

Jane Lindskold, . . Tor, $24.95 (399pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1701-8

Readers unfamiliar with 2008’s Thirteen Orphans may occasionally find themselves lost over some early references to the magical Land of Smoke and Sacrifice in this complex sequel. The Land was inadvertently created from Chinese myths and legends in 213 B.C. Some decades ago a few of its residents were exiled into our world. Now the last surviving Exiles and their descendants face both an invasion of our world and a faceless enemy of great power draining the life from the Land. Weighted down with intricate details of Chinese lore, the pace is slow until the protagonists leave our world and face almost impossible magical challenges, like dealing with a mythical beast whose death might poison the realm. Readers who enjoy martial arts and myth-based settings will be most willing to put up with the extensive backstory and exposition. (Aug.)