cover image Shattered Pillars

Shattered Pillars

Elizabeth Bear. Tor, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2755-0

Imperial intrigue and dark magic haunt the pages of Bear’s second Mongolia-inspired fantasy epic installment (after Range of Ghosts). The necromancer priest al-Sepehr is bringing war to the world, placing his allies and minions throughout the nations to see them crumble. But beyond his control are Edene, who has stolen the green ring that makes her ruler of the ancient and treacherous realm of Erem; bold imperial scion Temur; the wizard and once-princess Samarkar; Hrahima, a warrior of the tiger people; and the silent monk Hsiung, who is touched by the madness of Erem. Temur and his companions wade through court politics until war finds them and they make their way to al-Sepehr’s stronghold to free Edene, not realizing she has already escaped. Bear drives the plot forward through darkness and loss, allowing her heroes little respite between trials as her villains gain power. The building danger and sense of impossible odds beautifully set up the concluding volume. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, the Donald Maass Literary Agency. (Mar.)