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The Seer King by Chris Bunch, Warner Aspect
Bleak Seasons: Book One of Glittering Stone by Glen Cook, Tor
Einstein's Bridge by John Cramer, Avon
Serpentwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist, Avon
The Memory Cathedral by Jack Dann, Bantam
The Legend of Deathwalker by David Gemmell, Corgi
Cormyr by Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb, TSR
Waking The Moon by Elizabeth Hand, HarperPrism
Assassin's Quest by Robin Hobb, Bantam Spectra
The Waterborn by J. Gregory Keyes, Del Rey
Review Links
Shadow Moon by George Lucas and Chris Claremont, Bantam Spectra
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Bantam Spectra
Magnificat by Julian May, Knopf
Dawning of a New Age by Jean Rabe, TSR
The Dragon King R. A. Salvatore, Warner Aspect
Passage to Dawn by R. A. Salvatore, TSR
Exile's Challenge by Angus Wells, Bantam Spectra
City of Bones by Martha Wells, Tor
Rage of a Demon King by Raymond E. Feist
The Seer King
by Chris Bunch, Warner Aspect

Co-author of the Anteros and Sten series, Chris Bunch goes solo this time. In a fashion similar to that of his other novels, The Seer King is written as first-person narrative and, like the other novels, starts at the present and then jumps back and works its way forward. It's an engaging read but a bit anti-climatic since you know the hero will make it out alive of every tight spot before the story is told (but I've never been a huge fan of the first-person technique).

The Seer King starts the story of a young soldier, Damastes, and his rise to power and glory while serving at the side of the wizard, Tenedos. Since the novel starts in the present, we know that Damastes will eventually become the general of Emperor Tenedos's vast armies. Getting there proves to be a great story. The novel leaps from one adventure to another. Damastes rises in glory and rank while the story unfolds.

Perhaps the only troubling spot to the novel is the jarring and rather graphic sexual encounters that litter the novel in Damastes's wake. I suppose that the sex really isn't anything unusual for readers of Barbara Seldon or any other mainstream author but it's quite surprising to find in fantasy. Worse still is that the sex doesn't seem to serve any purpose in the story. Damastes isn't portrayed as a Don Juan nor does the sex hide some deeper meaning. It almost as if Bunch was told insert graphic sex every sixty-two pages.

Maybe I'm just a prude...

But in spite of that, The Seer King is a wonderful read. The sequels promise to continue the story as Tenedos consolidates his power as emperor and is eventually overthrown. Look for The Seer King and its sequels in the Adult Reading section of your favorite fantasy book store.

The Memory Cathedral
by Jack Dann, Bantam

A couple months back, somebody thrust this book at me. OK... I like books, so I happily took it. Several weeks passed before I finally had time to actually sit down and give Memory Cathedral a look-see.

The basic plot revolves around Leonardo Da Vinci and the four or five years that are missing from historical accounts of Da Vinci after he ran afoul of a wealthly and powerful family in Florence. Dann has created his own version of those missing years with a fabulous journey to the Middle East. Dann's premise for the lack of records for this journey is that Da Vinci destroyed his own notes fearing no one would take his other work seriously.

OK... that caught my attention. What could the most famous architect/inventor/engineer/artist/genius of all time possibly have done that would top the stuff that we do know about (tanks, helicopters, the Mona Lisa)?

Personally, I think Dann spends far too much time with Da Vinci's soap opera-like love life and not enough time on the much more interesting Middle East adventure. It made the book kind of thick and slower to read than I like. Still, the style of the novel is compelling and I found it easy to ignore the rest of my life and finish the book over a lazy weekend.

If you like Judith Tarr's historical fantasies, you'll like Memory Cathedral.

Shadow Moon
by George Lucas and Chris Claremont, Bantam Spectra

Shadow Moon is set in the same world as Willow. The main character starts off as Willow Ufgood but it really isn't a sequel as such. Thorn is a very different character than Willow. While not a fantasic book, it is definitely worth the read as a curiosity, suitable "mind candy" for a hot summer night. It will be interesting to see if the other books in the series are better or worse...


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