Monday, February 14, 2011

Hidden Cities-Daniel Fox

Hidden Cities
Daniel Fox
Del Rey, Mar 22 2011, $15.00
ISBN 9780345503039

Emperor Chien Hua savors the victory that has given him back Santung as the Jaded rebels led by Yu Shang flee the city. However, the Emperor ignores his pregnant concubine Mei Feng when she warns him they were fortunate to win a battle. Assassins including some from within the emperor’s most trusted aids try to kill his pregnant loved one while the rebel insurrection grows stronger daily and may win control of the nation in the civil war.

As General Ping Wen governs Santung in the Emperor’s name, he plots the downfall and demise of Chien and the pregnant concubine. His chances are improving greatly due to Tien the healer who has found ancient mage tomes.

Meanwhile an island trapped raging dragon trapped in chains by the sea links with young Han; neither grasps the significance of their bonding relationship at this time except both want to escape the isle imprisonment. The elderly on the island plead with the dragon for a chance to reach the sea. All including the dragon try to be free, but none seem to achieve this as war roars across the empire.

The final medieval Chinese mythos fantasy (see Dragon in Chains and Jade Man's Skin) is a terrific thriller that hooks the audience from the opening seemingly calm “Lord of the Feet” scene that proves to be the eye of the storm as the civil war rages with treachery weakening both sides. The story line contains a vivid sense of being caught in the middle of non-stop action that will have readers feel transported tin time and place. With a powerful ensemble cast in which Daniel Fox slyly switches perspective without missing a beat, fans will appreciate the engaging finish to one of the best refreshing fantasy sagas in recent years.

Harriet Klausner

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