cover image Brothers of the Wind

Brothers of the Wind

Tad Williams. DAW, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7564-1268-5

This epic episode set centuries before Williams’s Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy explores the ancient history of the land of Osten Ard, illuminating a tragedy born of honor and pride which sets the characters on their paths towards destiny and destruction. When the mortal Prince Cormach beseeches aid from the immortal, elf-like Zida’ya race of Asu’a to help slay the legendary dragon terrorizing his people’s lands, his request is initially met with scorn—until bold, brash Zida’ya noble Ineluki and his brother, stalwart Hakatri, set forth to investigate and slay the dragon themselves. After their initial foray goes awry, they must seek further aid and advice on how to defeat the ancient monster. But the price of victory is more than one of the survivors can bear, and the consequences could devastate all of Osten Ard. Chronicled by Hakatri’s faithful-unto-death changeling squire Pamon Kes, the narration has a sense of weight, history, and inevitability, which plays well with the obvious Tolkien influences that have long informed this series, though Kes’s distance from the action keeps readers at arm’s length much of the time. While this works as a stand-alone, it will be best enjoyed by series fans looking to understand the backstory of this intricate world. Agent: Matthew Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (Nov.)