November Publications

The magic continues in Canadian author Alison Baird's The Empire of the Stars: The Dragon Throne: Book II, the second in the trilogy that began with The Stone of the Stars (Forecasts, Jan. 5). Princess Ailia flees the planet Mera for the world of Arainia, but she and her allies must return to Mera to confront the Dragon Prince Mandrake before he can attack Arainia. A blurb from Andre Norton will cue her fans to this epic fantasy's high quality. (Warner Aspect, $13.95 paper 406p ISBN 0-446-69096-1)

David Drake's padded sixth entry in his Lord of the Isles series, Master of the Cauldron, takes young Garric-or-Reise, an innkeeper's son now Regent of Haft, on a royal progress to solidify Haft's overlordship of Sandrakkan, a restless province Haft conquered a generation earlier. While predictable plotting, flattish characters, preteen dialogue and heavy-handed stock responses won't gain the author new fans, this middling fantasy will probably sell just as well as its predecessors. Agent, Kay McCauley at the Pimlico Agency.(Tor, $25.95 432p ISBN 0-312-87496-0)

The long-lived elves of the House of Leaf and Star, with their allies (who include unicorns and centaurs), must face some formidable foes—immortal demons, ice trolls, frost-giants, goblins—in Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory's well-wrought fantasy To Light a Candle: The Obsidian Trilogy, Book Two. Some tongue-in-cheek humor (the hero shakes his head in disbelief at a drawing of a winged horse) helps lighten a long journey. (Tor, $27.95 656p ISBN 0-765-30220-9)

Just in time for the holiday season comes the reissue of David Hartwell's 1992 anthology Christmas Stars, which gathers 25 Yule-themed tales by such contemporary masters of SF and fantasy as Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Connie Willis and Gene Wolfe. Agent, Susan Ann Protter.(Tor, $14.95 paper 320p ISBN 0-765-31095-3)

The Bloody Crown of Conan, illustrated by Gary Gianni, gathers Robert E. Howard's only Conan novel, The Hour of the Dragon, plus two short stories and rare Howard miscellany. Scholar Rusty Burke explains Conan's enduring appeal in his introduction. Agent, Judith Hansen.(Del Rey, $15.95 paper 384p ISBN 0-345-46152-5)