Monday, December 22, 2008

The Valley of Shadows-Brian Cullen

The Valley of Shadows
Brian Cullen
Tor, Feb 2009, $25.95
ISBN: 0765314746

When thief Bricriu Poisontongue stole the Chalice of Fire from the Red Branch clan, he ended years of peace and enabled the evil wizard Maliman and his horde to escape from their imprisonment in the hellish Great Rift. In the mountains of Mourne, Malimiman is regaining his strength and rebuilding his forces as he prepares for war from his fortress Dun Daraiin. At the same time the Dark Ones insure none of the just can reach the sacred cup to drink from it.

The Seekers of the Chalice (Seanchan the Druid, Lorgas and Bern the elves, Cumac the warrior, Fedelm the Sidhe and Tarin the mercenary) search for Bricriu in the Province of Munster to take back the Chalice from him in order to bring it back to its rightful guardian the Red Branch. Their quest is hampered by Maliman minions like the Greyhounds, the Nightshades, and the Femonian Everywhere they go, they fight his followers or other evil not aligned to him. However King Caipre of Munster enforces the Laws of Hospitality allowing Bricriu some protection while the Seekers travel through the Forest of Fairdell where blood sucking Summaries and shapeshfting Wargaods want to kill intruders.

The sequel to SEEKERS OF THE CHALICE continues the Celtic based quest fantasy as the Seekers go from one dangerous encounter to another with most people afraid to show any support to them as increasingly Maliman appears certain of victory. His supporters are everywhere causing discontentment and divisiveness in an effort to weaken the Eire opposition before he engages his foes in direct hostilities. However, as the saga sets up for a terrific climax, the key to this and the previous tale is the Seekers have differing personalities and traits that especially surface during a crisis; which in this story line is constant. Fans will relish this superb middle fantasy as the action never slows down while the Eire champions run into trouble during their harrowing trek through Fairdell and other inimical places..

Harriet Klausner

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