cover image Queen of Demons

Queen of Demons

David Drake. Tor Books, $25.95 (448pp) ISBN 978-0-312-86468-2

As the protagonists in this sequel to Lord of the Isles (1997) journey through multiple worlds, Drake conjures a sense of enchantment--and danger--with original and convincing settings, situations and characters. Moreover, unlike too many fantasy characters, these protagonists mature through their adventures. Garric, aided by the ancient but lively spirit of King Carus, assumes the throne and grows into the unexpected--and often boring--demands of true kingship. His sister, Sharina, finds more male protectors but also learns to protect herself. Cashel rescues a princess--though the result is no fairy tale, and Cashel's sister, Ilna, seeks worthwhile purposes for her weaving-magic and expiation for the sins of its past uses. Liane emerges as a major character, dependable adviser to Prince Garric; other intriguing folk are introduced, from a drug-addicted wizard to Zahag, an ape magically given speech but still nonhuman in personality. If anything, the book covers too many stories, and so the reader is relieved when the protagonists are united at book's end. And though the evil eponymous Queen and the blood-hungry Beast have been defeated, more adventures await in implied future volumes. (Sept.)