Fantasy/SF Book Reviews

The Internet Writing Journal, December 2003
Page One of Two

The Devil's Armor by John Marco

DAW, November, 2003
Hardcover, 832 pages
ISBN: 0756401550
Ordering information: |

The Devil's Armor
 by John Marco After the death of the mad King Akeela in a great battle, Lukien, the Bronze Knight of Liiria has become the defender and protector of Grimhold, the secret mountain fortress of the Inhumans who are made whole again by the spirits of the Akari. Lukien is brokenhearted by the death of his childhood friend, Akeela and the love of his life, Cassandra. Deep in the fortress of Grimhold lies the Devil's Armor, which can make anyone who wears it virtually invincible. The armor is inhabited by the powerful Kahldris, an Akari spirit, whose terrible exploits are legendary. When the lovelorn Baron Glass (whose affections are not returned by Meriel, an Inhuman he met at Grimhold) succumbs to the lure of Kahldris's promise that the armor can restore his lost arm, many people's lives are about to change.

The Devil's Armor is the sequel to the critically acclaimed epic fantasy novel, The Eyes of God. John Marco skillfully expands the scope of the story to include many new and memorable characters, such as Jazana Carr, the beautiful and driven Diamond Queen who has conquered half the known world out of revenge for being deserted by her lover, Baron Glass; King Lorn the Wicked, the deposed ruler of Norvor and now single parent of a deaf infant; the youthful club-footed librarian Gilwyn Toms, who now rules a nation as regent; and the fanatical Prince Aztar who murders any nonbelievers who attempt to cross the Desert of Tears, the punishing boundary that Seekers must pass to find the fortress of Grimhold. John Marco brings all of these and other characters to life with his vibrant and exciting prose. Marco explores the themes of unrequited love, obsession, revenge, cruelty, redemption and war against the backdrop of exotic lands. He deftly handles the multiple storylines which neatly tie up at the end. Luckily for his readers, the ending sets the stage for more adventures in this fascinating world he has created. If you haven't yet discovered John Marco, you've got a treat in store for you.

--Claire E. White

Flinx's Folly by Alan Dean Foster

Del Ray, November, 2003
Hardcover, 272 pages
ISBN: 0345450388
Ordering information: |

Flinx's Folly
by Alan Dean Foster Empathic telepath Philip Lynx, known as Flinx to his friends, is still on the run from the authorities who would love to get their hands on his talented, engineered brain. With only his Alespinian minidrag Pip for company, Flinx leads a rather nomadic existence, traveling in his advanced starship which was a gift from the mysterious and technologically advanced viru-ujurians. Flinx is searching for answers about his unique gifts, which give him excruciating headaches. And recently, his powers have started showing him a vast, totally evil entity which is slowly moving towards the worlds of the Commonwealth. Flinx heads to the planet of New Riviera to visit his old flame, Clarity Held. But relaxation is hard to come by on the paradise planet of New Riviera. Clarity's boyfriend is a psycho who tries to murder Flinx. But he'll have to get in line, as a group of assassins known as the Order of Null want Flinx eliminated so he can't play a role in the coming confrontation with the alien entity.

The Pip and Flinx series is the fun, lighthearted space adventure series at its best. The multi-talented Foster, who can write everything from hardboiled detective novels to pure SF, knows how to spin a good yarn which will keep fans coming back for more. So what's the appeal of this popular series? There is plenty of action and adventure, it's true. But ultimately, it is Foster's ability to create fascinating characters and his skill at creating the future world of the Commonwealth that put Foster at the top of so many readers "Must Buy" lists.

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