cover image The Garden of the Stone

The Garden of the Stone

Victoria Strauss / Author Eos $6.99 (496p) ISBN 978-0-380-7975

At first glance, Strauss's sequel to The Arm of the Stone appears to be a standard medieval fantasy--complete with a cardboard theocracy, an inquisition, and a stolen sacred artifact, a stone that has the power to reunite the worlds of Mindpower (the realm of magic) and Handpower (technology). Within a few chapters, readers will realize that the author's execution of these popular themes is anything but average. A professional assassin, Cariad is the daughter of Bron, the hero who reclaimed the stolen stone; she leads the resistance against the theocracy of the Guardians, who still control the separated worlds. While Cariad attempts to infiltrate the Guardian's Fortress to restore world balance, she sends Konstant, her trusted soldier, to the world of Handwork to find Bron and help him return to Mindwork with the stone. The plot is complex yet convincing, and the abundant, well-chosen details of the settings--as well as the carefully developed characters--make this high fantasy a superior and original novel. (Dec.)