Orbit, Jul 2009, $15.99
In the Fourth Kingdom Tungdil Bolofar the dwarf was found as an abandoned infant and raised amidst the long-uns. He works for master magus Lot-Ionan the Forbearing ruler of the enchanted realm of Ionandar, who is one of the great sorcerers protecting the Girdlegard Valley; a land also defended by mountains on all sides with five passages watched over by the five tribes of dwarves.
However, all is not well in Girdlegard in the 5199th Solar Cycle. The evil ones want to breach the natural and species fortification. The alfar, gnomes, trolls, orcs, and others have apparently found an egress through the deserted Fifthling Kingdom while the sorcerers are busy trying to prevent the spread of the Perished Land where those who die reanimate as tormented revenants. However, a traitor from within has placed Girdlegard in jeopardy. On an assignment for his master, Tungdil meets dwarves especially a female he is attracted to; but the mission comes first.
The incredibly deep vivid descriptions of the five kingdoms is a two edged sword as readers become fully versed with the Heitz fantasy realm but also can slow down an exciting sword and sorcery saga. The cast is strong as the culture of with long-uns, magus, and dwarves come across as genuine. Fans will enjoy Tungdil’s escapades as he goes from a blacksmithing ward to adventures to save the world as he knows it; ironically his quest changes that world because he begins seeing it differently. With a nod to Willow, DWARVES is en entertaining well written quest fantasy that at time times slows down with the mountains of detail.