Tracing the Shadow
Bantam Feb 2008, $24.00
The Kingdom of Francia's chief Inquisitor Alois Visant accuses the College of Thaumaturgy of practicing magic, a punishment by death for those violating the taboo. The entire College is massacred on the pyres except for King Gobain's “alchymist” Linnaius and his apprentice Rieuk Mordiern, who up to this moment disdained his prime duty of housekeeping but now misses the safety of it. Both understand the need for extreme caution if they are to avoid joining their former colleagues.
Rieuk joins the magic underground. However, to his shock he learns that the mage leader of this secret group Arkhan plans to use him as an expendable pawn to force Francia out of its neighboring kingdom Ondhessar. Though unsure how in some way Arkhan needs to use the lad to steal the four Angelstone crystals. At the same time that Rieuk is in deep trouble, Linnaius flees Francia to another neighbor Tielen taking with him the Vox Aethyria that transmit sound over distances and a Guerrier patrolling the streets disobeys orders by rescuing an urchin, who happens to be the daughter of one of the purged mages.
Located in the Tears of Artamon realm, the first book of the Alchymist's Legacy is an interesting fantasy tale that is an introductory set up of the existing world order and the key players preparing to perform on the Sarah Ash universe stage. Still, fans of Ms. Ash will enjoy this opening gamut as the great fantasist provides a complex somewhat convoluted society in which the various stars seem headed towards an incredible major confrontation; just be patient everything is in place for what looks like a fabulous finish.