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by Barb Hendee & J.C. Hendee

Pub Date: Jan. 4th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-451-46375-3
Publisher: ROC/Penguin

Clunky prose encrusts a tedious quest through an already overpopulated genre landscape in the third volume of the second Noble Dead Saga (Through Stone and Sea, 2010, etc.).

Journeyor Wynn Hygeorht of the Guild of Sagecraft is looking for the ruined dwarf stronghold of Bäalâle Seatt; concealed within it may be the second orb, a weapon of the legendary Ancient Enemy, whom she believes will rise again. Her companions are Chane, the vampire who would do anything—even defy his own bestial nature—to keep Wynn safe; Ore-Locks, a dour dwarf seeking evidence that his reviled ancestor did not cause the seatt’s destruction; and the loyal but stubborn elven dog Shade. Her guild superiors, fearing the exposure of long-buried secrets, attempt everything in their power to block Wynn’s search. Meanwhile, several interested parties are following Wynn and surreptitiously aiding her with less-than-benevolent intentions, hoping to seize the orb for themselves. The series story line—the search for five elemental, magical MacGuffins—belongs to many forgotten ’80s trilogies and the less-sophisticated anime shows, and the creation of umlaut-, circumflex- and apostrophe-studded words is a task best left to the professionals.

Tolkien-with-the-serial-numbers-filed-off plus vampires fails to add up to anything much.