cover image The Shining Ones

The Shining Ones

David Eddings. Del Rey, $22 (470pp) ISBN 978-0-345-37322-9

Sir Sparhawk and his wife, Queen Ehlana of Elenia, encounter ever more sinister plots in the second book of The Tamuli , following Domes of Fire , as they try to help the emperor of Tamuli take a firm grasp of the government. In a world of many gods, whose powers depend on the number and fervor of their worshippers, the royal couple find themselves pawns in the struggle of one entity to free his followers, albeit bloodthirsty and un-neighborly, from constraints placed upon them eons previously. Unrest spreads throughout Tamuli, with indications of sorcery and meddling by various gods, prompting the goddess Aphrael, reincarnated as the royal couple's young daughter Danae, to retrieve the powerful sapphire-rose jewel Bhelliom, hidden a few years earlier after being used to destroy the evil god Azash. While Sparhawk, Aphrael (now in the guise of the child Flute) and various companions race through a hostile countryside, encountering the mythical and abhorred Shining Ones, the queen and emperor play a more stylized game to keep the enemy at bay. Neatly blending simplicity and complexity, this tale of comradeship, dastardly doings, multiple gods, strange races and noble and ignoble humans is vintage Eddings. (Sept.)