cover image Quintessence


David Walton. Tor, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3090-1

At the edge of the flat Earth is the island known as Horizon; here be not dragons, but intelligent entities called tamarins that communicate telepathically, animals that can pass through walls and transform their bodies, and pools of water that change stone and flesh to gold. Alchemist Christopher Sinclair, doctor Stephen Parris, and Parris’s spirited daughter, Catherine, lead an expedition to this island, fleeing turmoil after the death of Edward VI of England. But the new paradise is full of dangers from the land, hostile tamarins, and within the expedition itself—and despite the explorers’ physical distance from England, its unrest haunts them. Walton (Terminal Mind) reinvents the age of exploration with imaginative detail and a rich bestiary of magical creatures (though, too conveniently, there are no indigenous humans to protest the invasion). Despite some slack pacing at the start and a rushed denouement, the heart of the adventure is consistently entertaining. Agent: Eleanor Wood, Spectrum Literary Agency. (Mar.)