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A Cavern of Black Ice
Sword of Shadows, Book 1

J.V. Jones
Warner Aspect Books, 752 pages

A Cavern of Black Ice
J.V. Jones
J.V. Jones was born in Liverpool, England, in 1963. She currently resides in San Diego, California where she is hard at work on her next novel.

J.V. Jones Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Barbed Coil
SF Site Review: The Book of Words
Sample Chapter from The Baker's Boy
Sample Chapter from A Man Betrayed
Sample Chapter from Master and Fool

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Wayne MacLaurin

J.V. Jones' best-selling The Book Of Words trilogy introduced fantasy lovers to a fabulous author who has been praised for her rich characterization and grand storytelling style. That first trilogy was followed by the equally ambitious The Barbed Coil. Her second work was considerably darker in tone than the more traditionally upbeat trilogy that proceeded it.

A Cavern of Black Ice lays the ground work for an ambitious trilogy that, if anything, is darker still, in tone than The Barbed Coil. Set against the backdrop of a harsh sub-arctic landscape of ice bound mountains and desolate badlands, A Cavern of Black Ice begins the tale of dark magics and bloody ambitions.

The opening prologue sets the tone with the chilling torture of an unknown victim for unrevealed but obviously dark reasons. Then the story shifts to the badlands and the barbarian tribes that call it home. Two clansmen, Raif Sevrance and his brother Drey, discover their kinsmen slaughtered by swords that leave no blood and the tale begins to unfold.

J.V. Jones tells a tale that hints at so much more that the reader is compelled to grasp at the tantalizing bits and pieces make up the puzzle. Even the names of some of the main characters help to fill the puzzle: Ash March, Mace Blackhail and, Marafice Eye.

Marafice Eye, in particular, is a great villain. This guy gives The Terminator a run for the "Most Indestructible Bad Guy" title. He simply refuses to give up and makes a truly great opponent for the good guys.

As the first book in a trilogy, I suspect that A Cavern of Black Ice only hints at the true story that will drive the series. While the principal plot of ancient dark magics is central to the tale, Jones does a wonderful job of keeping the reader just a bit unsure of who is key to the story and which characters are going to survive its telling.

All in all, A Cavern of Black Ice is great start to what promises to be a greater tale.

Copyright © 1999 by Wayne MacLaurin

Wayne MacLaurin is a regular SF Site reviewer. More of his opinions are available on our Book Reviews pages.

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