cover image Between Two Fires

Between Two Fires

Christopher Buehlman. Ace, $24.95 (432p), ISBN 978-1-937007-86-7

Thomas was a knight in mid-14th-century France before war, betrayal, and the Black Plague reduces him to banditry. But his road to oblivion in a nearly dead world ends with meeting Delphine, a young girl speaking with the voice of what may be angels%E2%80%93she could be a saint, or a witch. Thomas can't ignore his compulsion to join her quest to go to Avignon, home of the pope, undertaken for reasons unknown even to her. But they and their companion P%C3%A8re Matthieu don't realize they're trapped in a cosmic battle between good and evil, God having withdrawn from the world and Lucifer bent on filling the vacuum. until nightmarish creatures rise up everywhere to stop Delphine. Buehlman's (Those Across the River) medieval world is detailed with both sweet-smelling air and the gory results of plague, brutal but where hard-won small victories may add up faster than vast defeats. Thomas is the perfect everyman whose virtuous and sinful sides war internally as much as his sword arm battles in the physical world; Delphine is equally well drawn, part prophet and part frightened child. Fans of historical fantasy and horror will find this epic darkly rewarding. (Oct.)