Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Dark Remains

Mark Anthony
Fiction, Fantasy
Third in series of six

What do you do with a badly wounded knight? Take him to the ER, of course. In this installment of the Last Rune series, Dr. Grace Beckett has made the decision to take her Eldhish companion Beltan to Earth because, frankly, the medical facilities on Eldh leave much to be desired. She and Travis have to hide from the authorities, as they have been so kindly described as 'dangerous fugitives' by the Duratek corporation, which seems to be taking over a shell-shocked Denver. And Beltan is in a coma - at least, until he disappears.

If that weren't bad enough, back on Eldh the familiar companions have to travel south to find out about a powerful magic that has started killing off the New Gods...

Most of this book is devoted to the parallel stories taking place on Earth and on Eldh. Denver residents will recognize the topography and be able to place Duratek's base of operations to within a few blocks. And yes, there really is a godforsaken piece of land known as Commerce City - it usually smells like sulfur. It's an ironic underscoring that non-natives won't notice.

In this book, the protagonists finally get some self-confidence (a bit delayed, as they're both in their thirties) and a little willingness to use their powers as necessary. We get introduced to a new form of magic, blood sorcery, and its consequences. (One of which is that you end up scarred. The blood has to come from somewhere, after all.) And there's a different method of travelling between the worlds, one that non-magical groups like Duratek can utilize. If only they can synthesize the right ingredient.

As with all of these books, Anthony's writing style speeds up at the conclusion, and it is very important that you note the details, because if you miss them, the finale will make no sense.


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