Addition to Cherryh’s huge fantasy saga (Fortress in the Eye of Time, 1995; Fortress of Eagles, not seen) where, in a world of constant strife, King Cefwyn and his bride Ninevrise are beset by plotters, traitors, and enemies at every turn. Cefwyn’s ally is the wizard Tristen, a Summoning of the last Sihhe wizard, Mauryl. At first without memory, Tristen finds that knowledge sometimes Unfolds in his head, especially at need; he wields a magical sword inscribed, on one side, Truth, on the other, Illusion. Having existed for less than a year, and uncertain how much longer he will endure—it all depends on Mauryl’s original spell—Tristen settles in to enjoy his first winter. He hopes for the guidance of the wise old wizard Emuin, who unfortunately is distracted and evasive. Then, heralding another elaborate political struggle, Tristen is bidden to ride south by an oracular spirit. Cherryh provides a synopsis that even readers familiar with the previous books will find unhelpful, if not unintelligible. Cherryh writes with great power, conviction, and clarity, but here she’s pursuing intricacy as an end in itself: one for dedicated, determined fans only.