Leaves of Flame
Reviewed by D. Andrew McChesney
††††††††† In this, the sequel to Well of Sorrows, Colin Harten is challenged by dark forces seeking to overthrow the accord he helped establish between human, dwarren, and Alvritshai.† An unbalance in the magical powers of Wrath Suvane places the safety and well-being of all races in jeopardy.† Can Colin locate the cause of the disturbance and restore the balance before dark forces overrun the known world?
††††††††† While this is the second book in a planned trilogy, Tateís skillful writing allows it to be read as a stand-alone story.† It is possible to understand this one without having read the first.† Without being redundant, sufficient reference and explanation exists, that a reader who hasnít read the first, or a reader who read it some time ago, loses very little.† Yet Tate ends this story much as he did the first, with the reader anxious to read the next and find out what happens.† Commercially that is a good thing.† If one convinces readers to buy the first book, the need to find out what happens next will entice them to purchase the secondÖ and the third.
††††††††† He also excels at creating a world in which magic and supernatural power is woven directly into the fabric of daily existence.† In Tateís (and the readerís) imagination, those powers and forces are a part of the natural world, even if they are beyond what we consider to be normal.† They are so interwoven into the various societies, that they are a matter of fact part of that world.† He also does a great job of providing overall racial characteristics and behaviors for each of the main groups, but also creates specific individuals, each with attributes and faults, such as we see in everyday life.
††††††††† As this story progresses, we also see reference to phenomenon first mentioned in the Throne of Amenkor trilogy, written by the same individual as Joshua Palmatier.† This reviewer looks forward to the third installment of Tateís work to see if any further correlation between the two trilogies is offered.† Perhaps the follow up volume to Leaves of Flame will answer questions of time, people, and geographical relationships between the two.
††††††††† Leaves of Flame is a well-written and exciting work of epic fantasy.† The autographed copy read for this review is a mass market edition from DAW.† It carries ISBN 978-0-7564-0704-9 and a cover price in the US of $7.99