Orbit, Oct 2008, $7.99
The mage Saker continues his obsessed quest for vengeance against the descendents of Acton and his horde when they crossed through the Death Pass into what became the Eleven Domains massacring his ancestors the Travelers, who resided there. To succeed in his endeavor, the crazed enchanter sprinkles his blood on the bones of those murdered to forge warrior ghosts with a thirst for revenge that supersedes his. His initial efforts prove successful when he sends his dead army into Carlion, killing most of the residents.
Meanwhile as Saker improves as a necromancer, Bramble and Ash visited the Well of Secrets which advises them their only hope to prevent Saker from destroying the Eleven Domains resides with the long dead Acton. They go their separate ways on different aspects of the quest. Ash must go home to visit his scornful father, who believes his son is a failure as he only holds bards with regard; there he will find the song to raise Acton. On the other hand Bramble needs to explore the real events not the legend that occurred, a millennium ago when Acton led the invasion from the Death Pass.
While all this is happening Thegan the warlord plans to expand his rule from one to all Eleven Domains. He does not care who dies to further his ambitions placing Leof in an ethical dilemma between loyalty to his liege and to the common good of all the people.
The problem with this excellent middle book in the Castings trilogy (see BLOOD TIES) is waiting for the finish as DEEP WATERS will come FULL CIRCLE hopefully tying up the threads as each of the prime players have gone their separate ways in this entry. The story line is fast-paced with Acton playing a major role as Bramble begins her effort to separate the myth from the truth (think of Robert Wuhl’s special Assume the Position). Well written with plenty of excitement though little tied up (the middle book syndrome), Pamela Freeman sets the table for what should be a spectacular finish.