Setting aside his wildly popular Forgotten Realms books for the moment, Bob Salvatore continues to wade into his character-development-heavy Demon Wars saga with this meaty kickoff to the latest DW series. If you're familiar with the series (and if you're not, start with The Demon Awakens
), you know that this ain't Icewind Dale. The generously developed characters take center stage, and they--much to our initial dismay, perhaps--are far from invincible. (More than a few hearts were broken when Elbryan the Nightbird, Touel'alfar-trained ranger extraordinaire, bit the dust in the last book, Demon Apostle
Mortalis shifts the spotlight to fearsome gemstone-wielder Jilseponie (a.k.a. Pony), who's got to decide just what path to take in the wake of Markwart/Bestesbulzibar's defeat and the death of her beloved ranger hubby. Should she take over the Abellican church as Mother Abbess? Or should she take King Danube's offer to be Baroness of Palmaris? Or perhaps her grief-tinged destiny lies along another path. Countless goblins still require a firm beating down, the ranks of the Abellicans are far from content, and a virulent plague threatens to kill off even more characters. What's a Pony to do? --Paul Hughes
From Publishers Weekly
This hefty fantasy by bestselling author Salvatore (The Witch's Daughter), which launches a new Demon Wars saga, finds the beautiful and powerful gemstone-mage, Pony, grieving for her lost husband, Elbryan. She also faces a major decision: to become mother abbess of the Abellican Church, or to accept King Danube's offer to make her a baroness and secular ruler? Pony agonizes over whether to stand with the church and fight its corruption or to help the king restore order to a shattered kingdom; she opts to travel to her homeland to ponder. Thus, with no demons to kill, the saga starts off detailing the power struggle between church and state. There is a new enemy to defeat in the land of Corona, howeverDa goblin-spread plague that is the deadly legacy of Bestesbulzibar, the evil "demon dactyl" who has already been killed off three times (once in each volume of the first Demon Wars trilogy). Filled with far more angst than action, this volume still contains enough adventure (including, finally, a magical battle against a tigerish monster) to keep it moving at a happy pace. But for fans looking to vicariously shed the blood of evil goblins, fomorians (giants) and powries (dwarves), this may not be enough. And readers with a more mature perspective might find greater enjoyment and similar conflicts in any well-written medieval history. 6-city author tour.
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