cover image Storm Breaking

Storm Breaking

Mercedes Lackey. Daw Books, $21.95 (448pp) ISBN 978-0-88677-713-5

The Mage Storms trilogy, which is itself but one of several novel-clusters in Lackey's epic Heralds of Valdemar fantasy series, concludes with zest as the mysterious mage-storms--set back temporarily in Storm Rising--continue to produce monsters, disrupt magic (on which many cultures in Lackey's fantasy universe depend) and threaten to demolish all that exists. Here, the western allies, including mages and the Sun-priest Karal, look desperately among the exotic machines in the Tower of Urtho, the Mage of Silence, for a way to stop the storms; elsewhere, in Hardorn, Duke Tremane is offered the kingship, contingent upon a primitive ritual that will tie his fate to that of the land. Emperor Charliss declares Tremane a traitor and names Baron Melles his heir, allowing Melles new latitude for infamy. Many familiar characters from Lackey's previous books are here, as well as some impressive new ones, including a gryphon delegation from Iftel. Unlike most fantasy, this novel errs on the side of too little description, but, even so, Lackey's world remains rich in ideas and personalities, and the magic she imagines (unlike the political intrigue) continues to be complex and often innovative. Come the next stormy night, admirers of her brand of fantasy will enjoy curling up with this tempestuous work. (Oct.)