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The Sorceress of Karres (Witches of Karres) Mass Market Paperback – May 31, 2011
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About the Author
Eric Flint is the author and creator of the New York Times multiple best-selling “Ring of Fire” alternate history series. With David Drake, he has written six popular novels in the “Belisarius” series, and he has collaborated with military science fiction master David Weber on 1633, and 1634: The Baltic War and on Crown of Slaves. Flint was for many years a labor union activist. He lives in East Chicago, IL, with his wife.
Dave Freer is an ichthyologist turned author living in a remote island off Tasmania, Australia with his wife and two children. He has co-authored with Eric Flint (Rats, Bats and Vats, The Rats, the Bats and the Ugly, Pyramid Scheme, and Pyramid Power) and, with Mercedes Lackey and Eric Flint (The Shadow of the Lion, This Rough Magic, The Wizard of Karres) as well as writing the solo novel, A Mankind Witch.
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Set in the same regions of space as the original novel, "The Sorceress of Karres" also provides a look back into Captain Pausert's youth on Nikkeldepain where Goth has time-traveled to save him from an untimely death. We switch back and forth from that past to a present where Pausert and The Leewit are on a mission to learn why ships are still being lost in the Chaladoor.
With the exceptions of Moander and Hantis, the Nartheby Sprite, almost the entire casts of the first two novels return in "The Sorceress of Karres." Captain Pausert, Goth and The Leewit are back and we get a cameo appearance by Maleen, now married and a mother-to-be. This seems to be catching as former Imperial agent Hulik do Eldel is carrying the next generation of the hexaperson and heir apparent to the Daal of Uldune, who has become Hulik's husband (husbands?). Vezzarn is more like his old, larcenous self. Toll and Threbus play larger roles than they did in either of the previous books but they are consistent with the characterizations Schmitz created 44 years ago. Himbo Petey makes his return, along with the entire cast of the Petey, Byrum & Keep as authors Eric Flint and Dave Freer smoothly blend them into the storyline.
One of the things I like most about this book is the way Flint and Freer were able to advance the continuing story of the Captain and his crew while providing insights into Pausert's background and even some glimpses of Threbus' past life. We learn more about the dreaded Megair Cannibals as Pausert, Goth and The Leewit battle against a mind-controlling plant that threatens the Empire.
While the second novel left me thinking Schmitz's original should have been left to stand on its own, this third book makes me hope Flint and Freer can come up with another tale from the wonderful worlds created by James Schmitz.
The story of the further adventures of Captain Pausert with (primarily) Goth and The Leewit was well-told, but a bit "wordier" than the original; this author seemed to explain things a lot more than Schmitz had found necessary, and sometimes I thought that the story was slowed down by the explanations.
Still, I found it to be a fun read, and I'd recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed the Witches of Karres!
Whereas 'Wizard' for the most part kept to the external, no frills narrative style of 'Witches', 'Sorceress' has a somewhat different texture, with more exposition and a deeper view into characters' motivations. This caught me at first, since I've re-read the first two books many times and so expected more of the same. Once I got farther into the story, I came to appreciate the clearer view (fewer "OK, what did he mean by that?" moments) and the necessity of doing so with a plot that takes place simultaneiously in different timelines. Flint & Freer deserve a lot of credit for putting together another great installment in the series.