Sable, Shadow and Ice

Cheryl J. Franklin, Author Daw Books $4.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-88677-609-1
After a slow start, hampered by shifting points of view that make its focus unclear, this fantasy soon picks up speed. In Franklin's ( The Inquisitor ) familiar yet creatively fruitful vision of the future, apocalyptic war has devastated the earth, and society has embraced ignorance rather than allow technological progress to result in further destruction. Estranged twins Benedict and Marita have chosen opposing paths in their decaying world. He preaches a Christianity-inspired religion, though universal and incontestable Affirmist law forbids such promotion of personal belief. Marita is a Mage; her humble specialty is love potions. Both have a calling to rescue their world from growing forces of evil, especially the renegade Mage Ch'ango, though Marita is slow on the uptake. It takes the appearance of an enigmatic yet irresistible privateer named Andrew to draw her into the battle to restore a culture of learning and progress. Franklin's tale of a world gone awry is fun but flawed, for while it reaches a climax, it never seems entirely finished; it remains unclear, for instance, how Benedict's religion is intended to fit in. Incomplete characterizations and a tendency to be excessively cryptic also mar this otherwise imaginative and entertaining fantasy. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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