A Blight of Mages
Orbit, Aug 4 2011, $25.99
In Dorana, centuries before the Mage War, Barl Linden has incredible talent but is refused advanced training as a student mage by the Council of Mages. She knows her social status prevents her from proper instruction as the Council of Mages limits who is acceptable based on family.
Due to his powerful autocratic father, Morgan Danfey is the youngest mage ever appointed to sit on the Council. He feels a horrific danger will assault Dorana, but since he lacks specificity his warnings are ignored as youthful inanity. Mages like his father insist they can handle any threat. Fearful and desperate he begins to study the forbidden magic that he concludes is the only hope against what he vaguely foresees coming.
When Morgan and Barl meet, each recognizes much in common with the other. They share great magical skill; a belief the rules are too restrictive; and a forbidden attraction.
This is a well written super fantasy that focuses predominantly on the initial meetings between Morgan and Barl prior to their heroics in the Kingmaker, Kingbreaker duology. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action, but driven by the lead couple though there is much more. However, for fans of the saga, A Blight of Mages lacks some of the levels of suspense of the other Mages thrillers because we know what is to come after the events of this prequel. Still in spite of knowing the future, readers will appreciate the salad days of the dynamic duo as Karen Miller affirms her incredible fantasist writing skills with an exciting tale.