Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Hidden World- Paul Park

The Hidden World
Paul Park
Tor, Apr 2008, $25.95
ISBN 9780765316684

Miranda Popescu is beginning to understand her heritage as the once lost thought dead Roumanian princess and as the mythical shape-shifting White Tyger. However, that knowledge also means responsibility to her people and lethal threats from within and without. Nasty sadistic Colonel Bocu wants Miranda dead; the spirit of evil Baroness Nicola Ceausescu may be even more malevolent than when she was living if that is possible; her late Aunt Aegypta has proven untrustworthy and so has the deceased evil Elector of Ratisbon a sinister alchemist. As Miranda now knows dead does not mean the threat expired as they can still cause havoc from the Hidden World. However, the biggest danger comes from the aristocracy still inanely and insanely experimenting with ancient magic that is not understood very well.

In that environs her country is losing the war to Turkey and some in her inner circle want that to happen so the outside upstart is dethroned. As she relies on her friends from the other earth’s Massachusetts army officer Peter Gross and gender-species shape shifter Andromeda, rumors abound that tinkering with the old magic has led to a weapon of mass destruction that some say is a planetary doomsday machine based on necromantic physics.

The fourth and final tale in this superb alternate earth (circa WW I) epic coming of age fantasy is a terrific conclusion to a strong saga. The story line is fast-paced as peril seems to come from everywhere and on just about every page; yet Miranda remains a strong center holding the tense story line together. Although it behooves newcomers to read the previous three novels (see THE WHYTE TIGER, THE TOURMALINE and A PRINCESS OF ROUMANIA) as threads from them are tied up in THE HIDDEN WORLD, Paul Park provides a great finish.

Harriet Klausner

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