Barbara Hambly is the author of Patriot Hearts and The Emancipator's Wife, a finalist for the Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction. She is also the author of Fever Season, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and the acclaimed historical Benjamin January series, including the novels A Free Man of Color and Sold Down the River. She lives in California.
Twelve years after she concluded her Darwath Trilogy with The Time of the Dark, Hambly returns to the Keep of Dare. In this magical country, two former Californians, Rudy Solis and Gil Patterson, have prospered in their alternative professions (wizard and warrior, respectively), as well as in their interpersonal relationships with Dare's ruler and Archmage. But in the last five years a new glacial Ice Age has taken hold of Dare. Slunch, a virtually indestructible form of magical fungus, is ruining most of the arable farmland, and mutant creatures are attacking people. If something is not done immediately, the world's surface will freeze, rendering it uninhabitable by humans. Rudy must retain the trust of his queen and lover, Minalde, while delving into her five-year-old son's vast genetic memories, even as Gil and Ingold Inglorion struggle to stop the Mother of Winter from freeze-drying the planet. Part of the appeal of this novel lies in its juxtaposition of old and new: American brand-name products (Cracker Jacks, Swanson frozen entrees) and idiomatic phrases ("Pick up the phone, man!") cohabitate with swordplay and a medieval mindset; high-tech concepts like genetics mingle with sorcerous derring-do. The story is involving, and the narrative intelligent. Too often in recent years, Hambly has expended her talent on Star Trek or Star Wars series novels; it's good to see her originality back and blazing. (Oct.)
This sequel to Hambly's first fantasy series, the "Darwath Trilogy," is set five years after the Dark Ones nearly destroyed Renweth. Now the world is mysteriously growing colder, and Rudy and Gil must help the wizard Ingold defeat the magic-resistant creatures spawned by the cold. For fantasy collections owning the trilogy.