cover image Icefalcon's Quest

Icefalcon's Quest

Barbara Hambly. Del Rey Books, $24 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-345-39724-9

As glaciers creep southward, and bandits and sorcerous monstrosities roam the countryside, the Keep of Dare, a massive fortress built millennia ago, is the last defense for the inhabitants of the Vale of Renwath. In this follow-up to Hambly's Mother of Winter, the Dare survivors' last hope is to rediscover 3000-year-old magical technology. The Keep mages believe the key to that technology lies in the inherited memories of young Prince Tir--a belief that creates a dire situation when Tir is kidnapped by the insane Alketch general Vair na-Chandros and the Keep is besieged by the Alketch army. The task of rescuing Tir falls to the Icefalcon, Renwath guardsman and former ""barbarian"" White Raider. With the help of Cold Death, his sorcerer-sister, and Loses his Way, an ally from another White Raider tribe, the Icefalcon trails Vair and his undead army to the long-hidden Keep of the Shadow at the End of Time, where Vair plans to use Tir's ancestral memories to strike at the heart of the Keep of Dare. When Vair's corrupt magic rouses the ancient powers of the Keep of Shadow itself, however, the Icefalcon finds that there are even worse threats to deal with. Though the Icefalcon has been a minor character in previous Renwath novels, here his dry humor and insight into ""civilized"" culture hold center stage with ease. Hambly's latest is, as expected from this talented author, another fast-paced adventure with a finely textured setting, lively characters and some genuinely dark magic. (Feb.)