From Publishers Weekly
In Strauss's cautionary tale of religious mania, the gripping sequel to The Burning Land
(2004), two men of the land of Galea, Râvar and Gyalo, vie for the role of "Next Messenger," the herald of Ârata, the principal but sleeping deity of a complex religion. Râvar knows he's a False Messenger, while Gyalo believes, with growing horror, that he may actually be the Next Messenger. Gyalo is more concerned, however, with rescuing his wife, the seer Axane, from Râvar, who kidnaps her as part of a plan to avenge the destruction of Refuge, a community of Âratist refugees. Through the two protagonists' opposing viewpoints, the author dramatically explores issues of religious oppression and transformation. While Strauss constructs the early part of the story to help the uninitiated and provides a glossary at the end, readers would do best to start with The Burning Land
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The survivors of Refuge prepare to wreak vengeance on the holy city Arsace, which defeated them in The Burning Land
(2004). Ravar, one of the last of Refuge's powerful mages known as Shapers, kidnaps the seer Axane and proclaims himself the New Messenger, a demigod who will usher in a new era of universal destruction. Another Shaper, Gyalo, has to come out of contemplative retirement and meet Ravar and his army of fanatics to determine just who will shape the future of the world. This book inevitably suffers from the unresolved conflicts common to the middle book in a trilogy, or so it appears, but Strauss is no slouch at pacing, characterization, and world building, and she has a real gift for coming up with scary systems of magic. Certainly Burning Land
readers will come out in respectable numbers for this continuation of the story. Roland GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved