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Lord Brother
Carolyn Kephart
Sterling House, 185 pages

Lord Brother
Carolyn Kephart
Carolyn Kephart, better known as Kari, grew up as a "military brat." She now lives in Tennessee. Fluent in reading French and adequate in Italian, her interests includes literature of all types and times, most aspects of the 17th and 18th centuries, biographies, and early and world music.

Carolyn Kephart Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Wysard

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

Reading a sophomore novel is always a bit like holding your breath; you never know how the book is going to compare to the debut novel. And then there are those wonderful times when the follow-up is so well-done it even surpasses the first book. Happily, this is the case with Carolyn Kephart's latest novel; Lord Brother is even better than Wysard. We can all breath easily and enjoy the further adventures of Ryel Mirai, Lord Adept.

Life at the opening of Lord Brother is miserable and dangerously chaotic for the noble Ryel. His father lies dead. The city of his apprenticeship faces a grim fate. Now Ryel must go out into the world to face the daimon Dagar, who is determined to destroy Ryel and wreak havoc on the world. Everything Ryel holds dear is at risk and his powers may not be enough to overcome the daimon. His own life may be part of the price he will pay for losing the battle.

All of the engaging characters of the first book are back in Lord Brother: the beautiful, but deadly Lord Michael Essern, the Sovran Priamnor and his courageous sister Diara. Everyone is back, but the situation is by no means the same, as Ryel is about to learn. Even when he manages to right the wrongs that kept them all apart, Ryel will find that matters cannot simply return to the way they were. The consequences of time and change are brought home to him again and again as he struggles to save his loved ones and his way of life.

The impact of time is mirrored in every line of Lord Brother. As well-written and enjoyable as Wysard is, this second novel is an amazing step forward. There is a palpable maturity and confidence in Kephart's latest effort that impresses and entertains. With the second volume of this continuing saga, she has truly hit her stride. Fans of Wysard (and there are multitudes) are going to be even more firmly attached to Kephart by the last page of Lord Brother.

Kephart has a firm grip on the features that keep readers coming back for more. True, she has a wide range of alien settings, ranging from the frozen, forbidding Steppes to the lush world of The One Immortal -- all vividly portrayed. And, she has no dearth of fascinating characters, weaving such lethal creatures as the priestess Theofanu and the gentle Belphira into the complex tapestry of her dark fantasy. But, it is her talent for leaving questions unanswered and desires still unfulfilled that holds readers rigidly await for the next morsel of the tale. Look for no last-minute wrap-ups here; Kephart is too wily for that.

Relish the rich fantasy. Wince at the danger and adventure. Be ready for the next volume in the series, because, if Kephart continues as she started, the best is yet to come.

Copyright © 2002 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews, articles, and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. DARKERS, her latest novel, was published in August 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She has also written for BOOKPAGE and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Her articles and short stories are all over the map. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

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