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The Compass of the Souls (River Into Darkness) Paperback – 28 Oct 1999
Book 2 of 2 in the River Into Darkness Series
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15 November 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
The reserved and mysterious Tristam Flattery is an interesting and honorable character. There are also lots of other wonderful characters in the story, which the author treats with great respect and fidelity. Great storytelling and world building.
27 June 1999
I have eagerly awaited the second half of this set, only to suffer the same frustration as before. Sean Russell paints his Georgian-Victorian world with much detail, a world where magic is slowly, inexorably dying. His fault is that he almost never shows that magic. Eldritch, the last true mage--ever distinct from mundane humans--is quite long lived, has disturbing dreams, yet this appears to be the extent of anything we the reader can tell. Much of the book is taken with Erasmus Flattery, Eldritch*s former student, in pursuing Anna, who would resurrect the magical arts, and in Eldritch*s pursuit of him. The undercurrent of *other worlds* runs thru the book; as in Sea Without a Shore, there is a brief glimpse of that realm, along with one of a Hiroshiman cataclysm. What's difficult is that up unto the very end, the magic arts are firmly kept *offstage*, it is difficult to understand what everyone is seeking for, or warning against. A map would have been useful as well.
24 August 1998
I, for one, eagerly awaited the release of this book. Russel does a workman like job drawing this preqel to a conclusion in his usual and enjoyable style. While an excellent book, I found that this was more formulaic, as if he was somehow hampered by having both the beginning and the ending predetermined by his previous works. There was less of the mystery and intrigue we have become accustomed to: the reader actually knows what is going to happen! However, Russell certainly provides some additional answers and background on the world, characters, and mages he has created.
30 October 1998
Russell's fictional world feels a lot like the 19th century England of Sherlock Holmes. It feels familiar rather than fantastical, yet great and deep mysteries lie just below the surface. Russell draws characters with depth and breadth, people we care about. Even his villains are real people for whom we have sympathy. Indeed, it is difficult to decide which side you are on in this centuries-old struggle. I have diffculty putting any Sean Russell book down. If you like his others, you will like this one.
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