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The Soprano Sorceress
L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
Tor Books, 509 pages

A review by Jeff Berkwits

As this epic tale opens, music professor Anna Marshall steadfastly wishes she were anywhere but her dingy condominium in Ames, Iowa. However, when she's mysteriously transported to Erde, a strange realm where singers are regarded as mighty sorcerers, her mundane vocal talents suddenly become extraordinarily powerful. Throughout the adventure, Modesitt -- a writer best known among fantasy fans for his long-running Recluce series -- creates a compelling tale where mastery of melody can literally mean the difference between life and death.

From simple tasks like freezing water and lighting fires to complex undertakings such as building castles or changing weather patterns, an individual's lyrical and vocal abilities are necessary for success in almost every facet of life in this pseudo-medieval realm. Under the tutelage of her aide Daffyd and the cunning but decent Lord Brill, Anna slowly learns to understand her situation and consolidate her considerable power. She ultimately becomes deeply enmeshed in a war between the evil monks of Ebra and the sovereignty of Defalk. By the end of the novel, her role as a supreme sorceress and confident stateswoman is vital to the very survival of her adopted homeland.

Like a master composer, the author weaves a fascinating symphony of sights, sounds, and situations that delivers not only wonderful wizardry but also melodic mayhem and Machiavellian intrigue. It's a marvelous fable that should be the first of many such euphonious exploits for both Anna and her sure-to-be-legion fans.

Copyright © 1998 by Jeff Berkwits

Jeff Berkwits publishes ASTERISM: The Journal of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Space Music, and is also a contributor to publications such as Science Fiction Weekly and Outré. He has been a speculative fiction fan for most of his life and has fond memories of reading The Hobbit aloud with his family around the dinner table.

The Soprano Sorceress
L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
L.E. Modesitt, Jr. is the author of the Recluce fantasy series and a string of science fiction novels, notably The Parafaith War, Of Tangible Ghosts, and Adiamante.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. Website
ISFDB Bibliography
L. E. Modesitt, Jr. Tribute Site
L. E. Modesitt, Jr. Tribute Site

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