cover image Shannivar: The Seven-Petaled Shield, Book 2

Shannivar: The Seven-Petaled Shield, Book 2

Deborah J. Ross. DAW, $7.99 mass market (480p) ISBN 978-0-7564-0920-3

The second installment of Ross’s fantasy series is mostly a prelude to book three. Vengeance-obsessed refugee Zevaron agrees to protect Danar, the young heir to the throne of Gelon, both because he owes Danar’s father and because he knows it will annoy Danar’s uncle, Cinath, who commanded Gelon’s subjugation of Zevaron’s native Meklavar. Zevaron and Danar’s flight takes them across the Azkhantian steppes, whose nomads have their own conflicts with Gelon. Imperial ambitions prove a secondary concern when portents of doom come from the north. Allied for the moment with the nomadic warrior-woman Shannivar, Zevaron turns to confront a threat to the world itself. Ross’s prose is serviceable and she puts her by-the-numbers secondary world to good use. Existential dangers are a well-chewed trope and Ross has little new to offer, but as time-killing comfort reads go, this could be worse—as long as readers don’t mind that all closure has been deferred to the final volume. (Dec.)