cover image Mortalis


R. A. Salvatore / Author Del Rey Books $25.95 (496p) ISBN 978-

This hefty fantasy by bestselling author Salvatore (The Witch's Daughter), which launches a new Demon Wars saga, finds the beautiful and powerful gemstone-mage, Pony, grieving for her lost husband, Elbryan. She also faces a major decision: to become mother abbess of the Abellican Church, or to accept King Danube's offer to make her a baroness and secular ruler? Pony agonizes over whether to stand with the church and fight its corruption or to help the king restore order to a shattered kingdom; she opts to travel to her homeland to ponder. Thus, with no demons to kill, the saga starts off detailing the power struggle between church and state. There is a new enemy to defeat in the land of Corona, howeverDa goblin-spread plague that is the deadly legacy of Bestesbulzibar, the evil ""demon dactyl"" who has already been killed off three times (once in each volume of the first Demon Wars trilogy). Filled with far more angst than action, this volume still contains enough adventure (including, finally, a magical battle against a tigerish monster) to keep it moving at a happy pace. But for fans looking to vicariously shed the blood of evil goblins, fomorians (giants) and powries (dwarves), this may not be enough. And readers with a more mature perspective might find greater enjoyment and similar conflicts in any well-written medieval history. 6-city author tour. (July)