Fourth, and possibly last, of Cherryh's lumbering fantasy series (Fortress of Owls, 1999, etc.). Here, the wizard, Tristen, is a Shaping of the last Sihhe wizard, Mauryl, by nature half Shadow, half Fire. One side of his double-edged sword is inscribed Truth, the other Illusion. Despite all their victories in previous battles, however, Tristen and his friends, King Cefwyn and Queen Ninevrise, are threatened by yet another menace. Cherryh does provide a synopsis, again so dense as to be all but unintelligible—and if nothing else the whole ponderous enterprise demonstrates that even the most talented of writers can churn out pedestrian fantasy along with the best of them.