by Robert Newcomb
The Scrolls of the Ancients: Volume III of the Chronicles of Blood and Stone
Del Rey, June, 2004.
Hardcover, 544 pages.
In this third installment of the Chronicles of Blood and Stone, Prince Tristan and his sister Princess Shailiha, The Chosen Ones of Eutracia, must face another terrible threat to their world. A long-lost brother, Wulfgar, has been found and is being exploited by agents of the Heretics of the Guild to ensure their return to this world using the Vagaries (the dark side of the craft of magic) and the destruction of the masters of the Vigors (the light side of the craft). Now, with an army of demonslavers and the evil Krassus at his back, Wulfgar -- who has come into his full powers as a master of the Vagaries -- is ready to invade Eutracia by sea and destroy all that Tristan and Shailiha hold dear.
Robert Newcomb demonstrates the depth of his talent with The Scrolls of the Ancients, a multi-layered and exciting adventure which reveals more of the mysteries which surround the Vagaries and the Vigors, and the mysterious race of Ancients which created the magic that can only be wielded by one of endowed blood. The magical system has a particularly logical appeal. It seems to have a physics underpinning: negative and positive aspects of the craft must be balanced; imbalanced use of the craft can lead to total devastation. There also seems to be a law of conservation of energy at work. And if the magic is science-based, then the fact that the ability to use magic is genetically determined leads to some interesting speculation about the origin of the craft, which one assumes will be revealed as the series proceeds.
This series has two wise wizards: Faegan, the brilliant, crippled exile, and the elderly Wigg, both of whom steal every scene they are in. The passage where Wigg and Faegan must pass through a terrible test of character in order to obtain knowledge to fight Krassus is absolutely riveting. Newcomb never holds back: from the shocking torture scenes in The Fifth Sorceress to the horrors that befall captured humans who are taken to the Citadel to the epic sea battles and the pyrotechnics that accompany powerful magic, the narrative is always gripping. Tristan is maturing into a formidable hero and Tyranny, a beautiful, swashbuckling privateer is a welcome addition to the cast of characters in this outstanding fantasy series.
--Claire E. White
The Scrolls of the Ancients: Volume III of the Chronicles of Blood and Stone is available for purchase on Amazon.com
Reprinted with permission from The Internet Writing Journal®.
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