The long struggle is over at last. The demon dactyl is no more, its dark sorceries shattered by the gemstone magic wielded by the woman known as Pony. But victory did not come easily. Many lives were lost, including Pony's lover, the elf-trained ranger Elbryan Wynden. Despite the dactyl's demise, the kingdom still seethes in the same cauldron of plots and machinations. But when a deadly sickness suddenly appears among the people of Corona, Pony must undertake a pilgrimage that will test her powers-and her faith-as never before. Watching her every step of the way is the man she hates above all else: Marcalo De'Unnero, the villain responsible for Elbryan's death . . . who would desire nothing more than to lead Pony down that same treacherous path to destruction.
This hefty fantasy by bestselling author Salvatore (The Witch's Daughter), which launches a new Demon Wars saga, finds the beautiful and powerful gemstone-mage, Pony, grieving for her lost husband, Elbryan. She also faces a major decision: to become mother abbess of the Abellican Church, or to accept King Danube's offer to make her a baroness and secular ruler Pony agonizes over whether to stand with the church and fight its corruption or to help the king restore order to a shattered kingdom; she opts to travel to her homeland to ponder. Thus, with no demons to kill, the saga starts off detailing the power struggle between church and state. There is a new enemy to defeat in the land of Corona, howeverDa goblin-spread plague that is the deadly legacy of Bestesbulzibar, the evil "demon dactyl" who has already been killed off three times (once in each volume of the first Demon Wars trilogy). Filled with far more angst than action, this volume still contains enough adventure (including, finally, a magical battle against a tigerish monster) to keep it moving at a happy pace. But for fans looking to vicariously shed the blood of evil goblins, fomorians (giants) and powries (dwarves), this may not be enough. And readers with a more mature perspective might find greater enjoyment and similar conflicts in any well-written medieval history. 6-city author tour. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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April 03, 2001
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Excerpt from Mortalis by R. A. Salvatore
Jilseponie ' Pony ' sat on the crenellated roof of the one squat tower of St. Precious Abbey in the great city of Palmaris, looking out over the snow-covered rooftops, her gaze drifting inevitably to the dark flowing waters of the Masur Delaval. A bitterly cold wind nipped at her, but Pony, deep in memories, hardly noticed the sting. All the region, the northwestern expanses of the kingdom of Honce-the-Bear, had experienced an early snow only a week before, winter coming on in full force, though the year had not seen the end of the tenth month.
By all estimations, the war against the demon Bestesbulzibar and its goblin, giant, and powrie minions had gone unexpectedly well, had been completed with minimal loss of human life and without a single major city burned to the ground. Now with winter, though, the aftereffects of that war were beginning to show, most notably the food shortages in villages whose supplies had been diverted to towns that had harbored the King ' s soldiers. Rumors had come to Palmaris of uprisings in some of those villages against King Danube and against the Abellican Church, whose leader had surely acted in the interests of the demon. Other rumors spoke of several mysterious deaths along the coast of the Mantis Arm and of a group of fanatics threatening to break away from the Abellican Church while rejecting outright the notion of any church dedicated to Avelyn Desbris.
So the war had ended here in Palmaris, but it seemed to the grieving Pony as if the turmoil had only begun.
Or was it merely a continuing thing she wondered. Was such travesty and turmoil, such unrest, merely a reflection of the human condition, an unending procession of one battle after another, of one cause of bitterness replacing another The notion stung Pony deeply, for if that were the case, then what had they really accomplished What had been bought by their sacrifice
Why had Elbryan, her beloved husband, died
Pony gave a helpless sigh at the futility of it all. She thought back to her early days, up in the wild Timberlands, in Dundalis, when she and Elbryan had grown up together, carefree. She remembered running down the wooded trails beside the boy, running particularly among the white caribou moss in the pine-filled valley north of their village. She remembered climbing the northern slope beside him one chilly night, looking up at the sky to see Corona ' s Halo, the beautiful multicolored ring that encircled the world, the source, she had later come to learn, of the blessed magical gemstones that served as the power and focus of faith of the Abellican Church.