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The Scrolls of the Ancients
Robert Newcomb
Del Rey, 544 pages

The Scrolls of the Ancients
Robert Newcomb
Robert Newcomb traveled widely in his youth as a member of the American Institute for Foreign Study, studying at the University of Southampton, England, and aboard a university-sponsored ship in the Mediterranean sea. After graduating from Colgate University with a B.A. in economics and a minor in art history, he enjoyed a successful career in business. He lives in Florida with his wife, a neuropsychologist and novelist herself.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Fifth Sorceress
SF Site Review: The Fifth Sorceress

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

The Vigors and the Vagaries are the two halves of the magic of Eutracia -- light and dark, good and evil, and the two scrolls of Vigors and Vagaries contain the sum of all their knowledge. Without the scrolls, neither side would be able to survive. Krassus, a powerful wizard who knows he will soon die, hopes to buy himself a better place in his chosen afterlife by destroying the Vigors (the good side) and to accomplish this he must find a long lost child. Tristan, the hero of this series, has no idea that he has a half brother, born four years before him and his twin sister Shailiha. Wulfgar is prophesied to be as evil as his brother is good, but when we first meet him, we can't help but feel bad for him. Krassus has hired demon-slavers to go out and collect everyone they find in the areas where Wulfgar was last known to have been. He is picked up, along with a young woman named Serena. They fall in love, and seem to be pretty decent people, until Krassus uses a spell to turn them evil, a state of being both embrace completely, especially when Krassus promises them a kingdom. This promise will be kept if they manage to destroy the orb of Vigors, hence destroying their biggest threat -- Tristan. If Tristan can find a way to turn his azure blood red once more, then he would be able to receive the training of the Vigors, and his powers would far outweigh that of his evil older brother.

This third installment in The Chronicles of Blood and Stone continues Robert Newcomb's tradition of mixing adventure with an interesting and well realized magical world. Tristan is, for me, one of literature's unluckiest guys. In the past, his parents have been murdered -- his father by his own hand -- forcing him to hide from his people, his twin sister has been kidnapped, the love of his life emotionally scarred, and, through innocent curiosity, he has made a mistake that has changed his blood blue, thereby keeping him from learning the things he so desperately needs to know in order to set things right. This book is no exception. His half brother is evil, he gets captured on a demon-slaver ship and is forced to row at the oars. The demon-slavers are particularly icky. They revel in suffering and pain, and how they are created is ironic and sad. Tristan does manage to escape and in doing so is introduced to the totally cool sea captain Tyranny. In turn she introduces us all to some nifty adventures, including dealings with real pirates and sea battles.

There is plenty of adventure and magic. I enjoyed watching Tristan and his friends race to prevent Wulfgar and Krassus from fulfilling their plans. I also enjoyed how Wulfgar is developed as we watch him change, seeing his perspective on events. There is a lot going on. We follow all of the characters, such as when Wigg has to go into a penitence chamber in order to find the right herbs for a key spell, and it adds a great deal to The Scrolls of the Ancients. I also thought Wigg's interaction with a long lost love, Abbey, and his regrets over his past actions are really sweet and well written.

I knew when I got to the end of the book that this series was far from over, and I was right. Savage Messiah is due out sometime June 2005.

Copyright © 2004 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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