The latest of James Barclay's series about the Raven mercenary company, Elfsorrow
handily picks up on various loose ends. The war between the Colleges of Magic has ever more terrible consequences--the mages of Xetesk steal magic from a remote temple triggering a curse that will exterminate all elves. The Raven mage Erienne is racked with guilt over her failure to save her daughter and her possession of the vast magical power that burned her daughter out. The witch-hunters of the Black Wing are busy exploiting the situation and recruiting dispossessed farmers for a massive pogrom of magic workers. Barclay's work is always at its best when conveying a sense of urgency and of people caught up between bad choices; he is also not frightened of killing his characters off, which means that the sense of jeopardy here is real. We know, by now, that the Raven is more than individual vulnerable warriors--it is a way of life and a commitment to muddling through to righteousness. Barclay has many of the faults of pulp fantasy--his dialogue is unmemorable and his characterisation perfunctory--but his well-paced tales have both emotional force and a sense of being about things that matter. --Roz Kaveney
--This text refers to an alternate
Heroic fantasy from the heir to David Gemmell - the first in an epic series.