cover image Age of Legend

Age of Legend

Michael J. Sullivan. Grim Oak, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-1-943363-19-3

Sullivan (Age of War) continues his Legends of the First Empire series with this somewhat frustrating fourth volume, in which the war between the human Rhune and the elven Fhrey grinds on. The Rhune army is moving eastward toward the Fhrey heartland. The mysterious Malcolm entrusts a mission and a special key to Tressa, who was once a chieftain’s wife and is now distrusted by nearly everyone; he tells her that she won’t need to act for several years. After the hard-fought Battle of the High Plains, the two forces come to a stalemate at Harwood Forest, which does indeed last for years. Then a message comes from the Fhrey leader, Fane Lothian, inviting Suri, a young woman who’s the only human skilled in magic, to come alone to elven territory to negotiate peace. Readers may cringe when she accepts. Tressa reveals her mission and the cliff-hanger ensues. This is a strangely small-scale epic; men die “by the dozens” and travel takes a few days. Fans of the earlier works will want to continue to follow the stories of Sullivan’s very human characters, but Sullivan warns readers in an author’s note that this and the forthcoming books “are absolutely not standalone novels,” and newcomers are advised to begin at the beginning. (July)