paper 0-312-86516-3 The kick-off of a new fantasy series set in the same world as, but otherwise unrelated to, Kar Kalim (1997). Apprentice Dalin lives with his grand-uncle Granmar, the Truthsayer, high in a cave at Crystal Spires. Then, intruders hurl old Granmar off the cliff and seize his robe of office. Dalin stealthily follows them, but Hanno, the raiders’ runemaster, magically blinds and binds him. Finally he’s rescued by warrior Arandel, one of a second party (largely indistinguishable from each other and from the first party) arriving to find out why the Truthsayer hasn’t visited recently. Arandel and friends agree to help Dalin pursue the malefactors and recover the robe, or Tapestry. Thereafter, an inordinately complicated plot emerges piecemeal. Hanno, scheming to become the king’s chief advisor, arranged to dispose of Granmar (he could expose lies despite Hanno’s rune-magic) and plans to double-cross his associates. Dalin finds he can commune with trees and rocks, turn into a bear, and unerringly detect falsehoods. Arandel and company need to assemble the Panoply of the Loregiver (the Tapestry, a cup, and a brazier) to prevent wars in their homeland. But when Dalin confronts Hanno and appeals to King Hammankarl, Hanno easily befuddles the king with his magic—and Dalin ends up in a dungeon. Hardworking, with intriguing magics, but pedestrian and poorly thought out. It’s becoming ever more difficult to recollect Christian’s promising SF debut, Mainline (1996).