Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Shadow Isle-Katherine Kerr

The Shadow Isle
Katherine Kerr
Daw, May 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9780756404765

The island of Haen Marn has been located off the coast of Albe for years. Its inhabitants have been waiting for it to move through the dimensional barrier once again and into the world of Deverry and the Westfolks. This happens as Angmar’s eldest son Enj gives the ruined trumpet to the dragon Rori who gives it to a powerful dweomor user. Valanrdorio appeals to the spirit of the Lady of the North upon Earth to fix it which she does. Enj blows it and the island returns home.

Their world is a different place than the one Argmar left. Her husband Jori is a dragon who secures the inhabitants’ lands to make sure the Horsekin don’t lay seige to the populated towns in their religious zeal to convert everyone to the cult of the goddess Alshandra. Jori isn’t sure he wants to be turned into a human and since the Horsekin plan to invade, the rulers can use an ally like him in his dragon form. People are fleeing their homes because they are not safe from Horsekin raids. The islanders wonder what will become of them in this new world with its war strategies, new alliances and the threat of the Horsekin invading their lands.

The third Silver Wyrm tale has many more subplots than written above as almost every character has something going on, which can overwhelm the reader with switching perspectives. Laz the thief is the most fascinating of the vast cast as he landed on the island to escape punishment for stealing magical gems. He has one chance left to make amends by righting wrongs and eliminating much of the bad karma he caused over several lifetimes. His chance for redemption depends on the choices he makes; readers will wonder which way he goes as Jori and the people of Haen Marn return home in THE SHADOW ISLE. Katherine Kerr has written a great epic fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

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