February Suggested Reading

Here is February's list of gothic and fantasy novels. Enjoy!
Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover

In a world where magic walks and demons ride, you can't always play by the rules. Jayné Heller thinks of herself as a realist, until she discovers reality isn't quite what she thought it was. When her uncle Eric is murdered, Jayné travels to Denver to settle his estate, only to learn that it's all hers - and vaster than she ever imagined.

And along with properties across the world and an inexhaustible fortune, Eric left her a legacy of a different kind: his unfinished business with a cabal of wizards known as the Invisible College.

Led by the ruthless Randolph Coin, the Invisible College harnesses demon spirits for their own ends of power and domination. Jayné finds it difficult to believe magic and demons can even exist, let alone be responsible for the death of her uncle. But Coin sees Eric's heir as a threat to be eliminated by any means - magical or mundane - so Jayné had better start believing in something to save her own life.

Aided in her mission by a group of unlikely companions - Aubrey, Eric's devastatingly attractive assistant; Ex, a former Jesuit with a lethal agenda; Midian, a two-hundred-year-old man who claims to be under a curse from Randolph Coin himself; and Chogyi Jake, a self-styled Buddhist with mystical abilities - Jayné finds that her new reality is not only unexpected, but often unexplainable.

And if she hopes to survive, she'll have to learn the new rules fast - or break them completely....

Barnes & Noble Page MLN Hanover Site

Zandru's Forge by Marion Zimmer Bradley & Deborah J. Ross

Zandru's Forge is the 3rd book written by Deborah J. Ross, who is the writer chosen by Marion Zimmer Bradley to continue her Darkover literary legacy.

This novel tells the story of how two of the most important characters in the Darkover world met, King Carolin Hastur and Varzil Ridenow, developed their friendship, and took the first steps towards establishing The Compact, which was the pact that abolished the use of long-distance and psychic weapons from the world.

The story begins when they are teenagers, and Varzil goes to Arillin Tower, one of the main institutions for the study of psychic powers in the planet, to ask admitance. Carolin is instrumental in helping him to join the tower. As for Varzil, he ends up becoming Carolin's protector, as the then Prince is often threatened by an occult enemy.

As the years pass, the oppressed populace grows restless, and when King Felix dies, his throne that should have gone to Carolin is usurped by his cousin Rakhal, who begins a war to increase his lands, and persecute his cousin and all those who support him.

Carolin goes into exile, but in the end has to fight his cousin to end his reign of terror, but though Rakhal uses the most deadly psychic weapons against him, Carolin will have to fight it only with the strength of his army, his own intellect and non-offensive psychic powers.

This story discusses ethics, the right and wrong when facing a death threat, and the morals of war.

For those who are acquainted with the series, you'll find here several elements from Hawkmistress, which is one of the original books of the Darkover series. Deborah is a very good writer who does the series justice.

Zandru's Forge is the 2nd book in the Clingfire Trilogy, which ends in the book A Flame in Hali.

Amazon.com Page Marion Zimmer Bradley Deborah J. Ross

Circle Of The Moon by Barbara Hambly

In Hambly's mystical sequel to The Sisters of the Raven, the Crafty Women of Yellow City continue to hone their new-found healing and magical powers while the men of this patriarchal society adjust to the loss of their own wizardly abilities.

Set against a desert landscape that evokes Egyptian myth, Hambly's tale unwinds like a skein of multi-colored silk, illustrating her talent for well-drawn characters and fantasy rooted in many cultures. Young Raeshaldis, a powerful Sun Mage-in-training, has received a psychic dream plea for help from a Crafty woman on a faraway island.

Raeshaldis rushes to help, but another crisis in Yellow City complicates matters-a deadly green mist referred to as the Eater of Dreams has been released from grave amulets stolen by tomb robbers.

The mist kills many, infects Summerchild (Shaldis's fellow Raven Sister and King Oryn's beloved concubine), and enthralls Raeshaldis' tyrannical grandfather. Hambly nimbly brings the Yellow City and the faraway healing crises together, and she works in a surprise about the teyns, animal "slaves" to the humans, suggesting a sequel.

Amazon.com Page Barbara Hambly

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