cover image THE LAIR OF BONES


David Farland, . . Tor, $27.95 (429pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0176-5

According to Farland's Web site, the Runelords series, of which this is the fourth book after 2001's Wizardborn, was inspired by a hallucination. It also reads like one at times, full of rich and brilliant descriptions, but not always making much sense. Magical endowments—attributes such as sight, brawn or endurance transferred between people, leaving one crippled and the other superhuman—permit Averan, a nine-year-old wizard-in-training, to keep pace with the Earth King, Prince Gaborn and his cohorts as they search underground for the Queen of the Reavers. As those above ground prepare for war, Gaborn learns that his elemental powers are nothing compared to those of the Glories, forces of light who exhort their followers to love all men equally and beware the corrupting powers of the One True Master of Evil. The author rushes the action in the final chapters, the last one so condensed it reads almost like the summary of another complete book. Hopefully, the strength of the setting will help Farland to find a better pace for future volumes; this one, despite its promise, is strictly for the fans. (Oct. 27)