Iorich – Steven Brust

Vlad Taltos #12 The latest extension of Brust’s Dragaeran sequence finds Vlad doing his usual sarcastic commentary amid imperial intrigue. I don’t recall whether I first encountered Steven Brust through To Reign In Hell or Jhereg. I remember seeing the blurb from Roger Zelazny (one of my favorite authors) on To Reign in Hell, and I remember reading the introduction, where Zelazny said he was sceptical that anyone could pull the story off. But Brust…

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Flash – L. E. Modesitt Jr.

Archform: Beauty #2 An expert on product placement in a decadent society, Jonat de Vrai finds himself the target of assassination attempts. I first found L.E. Modesitt, as I imagine many did, through his remarkable The Magic of Recluce. It’s a terrific story, and if you haven’t read it yet, go straight there now and buy it. I stuck with Modesitt through at least nine books of the Recluce series, as it gradually went downhill…

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The Diviner – Melanie Rawn

Golden Key #1 The only survivor of a royal coup, Azzad takes refuge with desert nomads, and learns their unusual magic. But his drive for revenge may cost him dearly. I encountered Melanie Rawn via her debut novel, Dragon Prince, and was thrilled to find her bringing fantasy romance to life as few but Mary Stewart and M.K. Wren have managed to do. I devoured that thick book, the rest of that trilogy, and the…

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The Outstretched Shadow – Mercedes Lackey, James Mallory

Obsidian #1 Kellen Tavalon finds forbidden books of magic, and his sullen resentment of his traditionalist magician father erupts in ways he did not anticipate. I seem to differ from other reviewers in that I found the first part of this book to be the most interesting. The authors display the City and its culture for us, rebellious hero Kellen learns about Wild Magic, etc. After a while, the discovery slows, and the story becomes…

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Cryptic: The Best Short Fiction of Jack McDevitt – Jack McDevitt

A substantial collection of fantasy and science fiction stories from Jack McDevitt. Jack McDevitt is at his best in ruins. I first encountered him in The Engines of God, the first of a series in which humans seem to constantly stumble across alien ruins created by the Monument Makers. I went on to Eternity Road, in which post-apocalyptic humans look for the mysteries behind vast ruins. Even his other series, starting with A Talent for…

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Suldrun’s Garden – Jack Vance

Lyonesse #1 Suldrun, daughter of a king of Lyonesse, is dissatisfied but unfocused. Complex events across the island lead to dark deeds and intrigue. I first read Suldrun’s Garden when it came out in the 1980s. At least I think I did; maybe it was later. In any case, I didn’t like it much. I recall thinking that it seemed like an effort to get in on the latest Arthurian craze (Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists…

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