The twin suns Solar and Solis burn in the skies above the Minar plains, reflecting off the spires of the Crystal Trine. It’s the home of the last Cynosure Masters, who have the power to turn thought into reality. Tegain Hostler, an innkeeper who became an adventurer after the death of his beloved wife and daughter, seeks the Masters in an effort to find answers (“[A]lmost nothing remains of what used to be. I want to know what or who took it from me”). Strange beasts that were long thought to be myth, such as the black-taloned Grimble, roam the land, leaving destruction in their wake. Tegain has a mysterious, sentient sword that calls itself Lyn; his other companions include an old soldier named Karl and a beautiful, if not fully trustworthy, rogue named Vyckie. Together and separately, the three must face dangers of all sorts as they attempt to free the land from the plague of unnatural beings laying siege to it. The story’s greatest flaw is its occasional predictability; for example, readers will find it unsurprising when Tegain’s wife and daughter die, due to the way the story portrays them beforehand as his entire world. However, the strange beasts are the most creative aspect of this tale. Carter even includes atmospheric, creepy nursery rhymes that list the characteristics of some of these terrible creatures (“Click, Click, Click / Go Grimble claws / Click, Click, Click / Go Grimble maws”). Lyn is almost as compelling, as a human mind confined within a sword for uncounted years. Some fantasy novels struggle with characterizations of sentient objects, but here, Lyn is a well-fleshed-out character—particularly for one made of metal. The other players are less interesting, but some, particularly Karl, are still entertaining.
A solid adventure story with unique monsters and challenges, despite occasional lapses into predictability.