Another of Hambly’s yarns (following the superb Dragonshadow, 1999) about the struggles of bespectacled, bookish warrior Lord John Aversin and his wife, Jenny Waynest, to turn aside an invasion of demons. Poor Jenny, having lost her magic, is constantly both tempted and soothed by the whispers in her head emanating from her former tormentor/lover, the demon Amayon. In pursuit of marauding slaver-bandits, Jenny with her son Ian’s wizardly help turns back into a dragon. Later, she reluctantly resumes human form, only to be outwitted, trapped, and poisoned by her unknown foes. John, meanwhile, agrees to serve Aohila, the demon queen behind the Burning Mirror of Isychros, after she saves Ian from a mysterious sickness. With Amayon as his treacherous genie-in-a-bottle assistant (last time out, John betrayed Amayon into Aohila’s ungentle hands), John must slog through numerous ghastly hells, suffering the tortures of the damned, to find Corvin, the mysterious being Aohila’s ordered him to capture. Finally, in a grunge-cyberpunk parody, John reaches a human world powered by “etheric crystals” where magic no longer works. Avoiding the demons that have infiltrated the endless city, he seizes Corvin and returns home, only to be duped by Amayon and condemned to death'for consorting with demons. Yes, it “ends” on a double cliffhanger. And readers who’ve enjoyed the previously self-contained installments of this hitherto sparkling series are entitled to feel mightily disgruntled. So what do you do? Keep buying regardless? Exit, fuming? Or just scream?