Julian May is a prolific bestseller in both the fantasy and sf genres. Phenomenally successful, her Saga of the Exiles sold in the millions around the world.
After high fantasy grandes dames Marion Zimmer Bradley, Andre Norton and Julian May collaboratively created a quest saga on the magical World of the Three Moons with Black Trillium (1991), May carried on the series by herself (Blood Trillium, 1993). Now, in order to save that world, the series' three sister-heroines must battle the power-hungry Star Men in order to forge a mysterious Sceptre of Power from the supernatural talismans that are relics of the Vanished Ones who nearly destroyed the world. One of the sisters, Queen Anigel, pregnant with triplet princes and dismissing herself as the least courageous of the three Petals of the Black Trillium, has lost her talisman. A second, Kadiya, warrior Lady of the Eyes, wields an impotent sword despite her dashing bravado. And the third sister, Haramis, Archimage of the Land, finds the third talisman, The Wand of the Wings, key to unifying the Sceptre, threatened by her unwilling love for Orogastus, leader of the Star Men. May traces her characters' paths through the inevitable bog, battle, ambush and torture chamber. She cloaks their predictable travails in a colorful but unconvincing otherworldly atmosphere and allows her stereotypical supporting cast to clog the action with comic-book dialogue. Orogastus finally surrenders to Haramis not with a manly bang but with a whiny whimper, a dismal anticlimax to a series that sprouted so promisingly. (Jan.)