Sunday, September 30, 2007

The High King's Tomb-Kristen Britain

The High King's Tomb
Kristen Britain
Daw, Nov 2007, $25.95
ISBN 9780756402662

Over a millennium ago, the First Rider and the forces of Sacordia defeated the black magic of Mornhavon the Black and his invading Arcosian Empire army. Mornhavon’s spirit was incarcerated in Blackveil Forest surrounded by the magical D’Yer Wall and further guarded by Sacordia sorcerers. However, as the centuries past, the practical magic became less known as the fear of dark magic has been passed down through the generations since.

However, a rogue practitioner cracked the protective wall allowing the essence of the malevolent one to leak into the kingdom. With the Green Rider hurting and depleted, and needing time to rediscover the ancient containment spells, the King’s messenger and Karigan G'ladheon with the help of the First Rider sends Mornhavon into the future. However, as the Green Rider corps seek the document that will provide the spell to fix the hole in the wall, Karigan wonders how much time they bought as she anticipates a war of mages; unaware and unprepared that the first battle to come will be with the invigorated Arcosians, who have waited for a thousand generations for their leader to return to finish the conquering that ended in a temporary defeat.

The third Karigan tale (see GREEN RIDER and FIRST RIDERS’ CALL) is an entertaining fantasy that is somewhat similar in tone to other epic wars between good and evil; for instance over time the secrets behind the wall spell has been lost. However, the use of time travel magic refreshes the concept as Karigan buys time by dumping Mornhavon's essence on a future generation without the knowledge of where the malevolence landed. The story line focuses on finding the spell and the mundane second war with the Arcosions. Although well written and very entertaining with the heroine continuing her growth into using her magical powers, the disappointment is that THE HIGH KING’S TOMB fails to move forward (except in time) to the key confrontation fans want between Karigan and Mornhavon.

Harriet Klausner

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