Tomes of Spellcasting

Welcome to the land of mystery, where the impossible is possible, and the improbable the reality. Join me as I investigate worlds filled with magic and meet the souls that wield this wondrous powers.

W A R N I N G !

This review does not represent the opinions of the general public. It reflects my personal thoughts and opinions on the book.

That said, on to the review!

Title: Icefalcon's Quest
Author: Barbara Hambly
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine Books
Format: Paperback
Copyright Date: 1998

The Dark Ones are gone and the threat lurking within the Mother of Winter has abated, and the people dwelling in Renweth Keep are settling in to endure the ice age encroaching upon them from the north. However, the threat from the Alketch Empire to the south yet remains, and there are those factions within it that will stop at nothing to come to power...even to horrifyingly believable facades the deceive even the eyes of the Icefalcon, the outcast warrior of the White Raiders. But when that charade results in the kidnapping of Prince Altir, the Icefalcon knows that only he has a hope of rescuing the boy and restoring order to a world already driven to madness by the Dark Ones' depredations, the menaces born of the slunch, and the encroaching glaciers plowing their way southward. But not even he is ready for the ultimate destination of the prince's kidnappers: a keep buried beneath the glacial ice! And yet, though the keeps were built for safety's sake, this one has a terrible darkness raging within it. For at the heart of the oldest keeps is a mage who sacrificed his or her body to become one with the fortresses. What can the Icefalcon do against a wizard with no body to attack...and more importantly, against a wizard gone mad?

Icefalcon's Quest continues to detail the post-Dark world after Rudy, Gil, and Ingold stopped the threat of the slunch. Unlike the earlier books, however, the three play minor roles, leaving the greater part of it to describe the Icefalcon's past and his endeavors to rescue Altir. Altir, too, has longer stage time, and it is through him that readers learn more about the Keeps and the burden that the memories buried in the line of Dare truly is. It is, however, through a combination of the Icefalcon's observations and Altir's instinctive knowledge that details about the greatest magics of the past become known.

Of the new--or relatively new--characters that popped up in the book, I'd say I have to like Cold Death the best. The Icefalcon's elder sister has a wicked sense of humor that doesn't necessarily seem like humor, and it is through some of her dry observations that the oppresiveness of the northern lands, felt even through the medium of the book, is lessened. Then, too, it is a relief to find such a powerful, relatively untrained wizard that doesn't go by the name "Ingold Inglorion" playing a key role. I think having Ingold be the focus of the previous four books in the series was rather much. Even here he...well, let's just say that I'm glad Cold Death puts in numerous appearances.

This follow-up book--a sequel to the sequel if you like--to The Darwath Trilogy and Mother of Winter starts up a separate, self-contained tale about the life and times of the mysterious Icefalcon. Now we know what motivates the quiet warrior and impels him to doing things others wouldn't dream of. No one expected the Alketch Empire to roll over and die, not after the tantalizing glimpse Ms. Hambly offered before, and she doesn't disappoint here!

Rating: Thumbs up! Figures from the past prepare to call down a new doom upon the people of Renweth Keep!

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