cover image Devil's Bargain

Devil's Bargain

Judith Tarr. Roc, $16 (387pp) ISBN 978-0-451-45896-4

After the brilliant, subtle Pride of Kings (2001), in which England's Prince John refreshingly proved to be a hero rather than a villain, Judith Tarr stumbles in her latest alternative historical fantasy, Devil's Bargain, which concerns King Richard and the Third Crusade. Sorcery and witchcraft in the struggle for the Holy Land make for an interesting mix, but shallow, trite characterizations will put off readers expecting better.