cover image DARKWITCH RISING: Book Three of the Troy Game

DARKWITCH RISING: Book Three of the Troy Game

Sara Douglass, . . Tor, $27.95 (607pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0542-8

The prolix third book in Australian author Douglass's Troy Game historical fantasy saga (after 2004's God's Concubine ) exhibits the same powerful imagination as its predecessors, but is not the place to start for newcomers. Brutus, legendary king of Troy, is now incarnate in 17th-century England as one of Charles II's companions, while Charles himself is the Stagking from Celtic folklore. Cornelia, Brutus's wife and a moderating influence, is now a young woman named Noah, while the sorceress Genvissa is now Kate, a prostitute and sex slave to Weyland Orr, the reborn Asterion (the original Minotaur). Asterion's sister, Ariadne, reappears as sharp-tongued as ever, revealing that the Labyrinth is now in the parallel universe of Faerie, while the Troy Game itself is incarnate, and still dangerous, in Noah's daughter, Catling. The stakes rise further when the Game sows plague in England, against which Charles has to unleash the Great Fire of London. Though enriched by the author's historical and folkloric expertise, the somewhat jumbled narrative with its many characters, their shifting alliances and frequently unsympathetic sexual encounters may weary even established fans. Agent, Jim Frenkel. (May 12)