A fantasy novel about an unlikely alliance of sorcerers from debut author Meadows.
Clement—a “tyrant”—may be a powerful sorcerer, though he is by no means a happy one. “An exile imprisoned deep in the confines of an ancient forbidding forest, Clement had only his hatred to keep him company.” Summoning his old enemy Darien to his secluded cabin, Clement has a plan. The two will kill the powerful Queen Sylvia, who fought under “her banner of freedom and justice” and subsequently destroyed their respective kingdoms. As the two go about their mission, they run into one problem: Queen Sylvia has already been kidnapped by a demon. Darlyth, the lord of the demons, is determined to steal the enchanted tiara that enhances Sylvia’s powers and that only she can command. Subjected to torture at the hands of grotesque monsters known as grorgs, Sylvia is determined to hold out against unspeakable horrors. Meanwhile, Darien and Clement run across Lillian and Xanaphia, two equally powerful and sinister tyrants who would like nothing more than to see Sylvia destroyed. Soon, the four former enemies—“the four deadliest sorcerers of our generation,” Xanaphia says—are working together. Will their combined deadly abilities be enough to stop Darlyth, even as their goal changes from killing Sylvia to saving her? This fantasy quest with a twist is full of magic, much of it at the fingertips of the many sorcerers: “A red beam burst from his fingers igniting the pile of dried limbs and twigs.” The four main sorcerers, for their parts, aren’t used to being heroes. As Xanaphia says: “Saving the world isn’t our forte. We’re usually more interested in enslaving it.” Imaginative in its use of novel creatures (such as the carefully designed “death spider”) and a detailed back story, the story focuses on the difficulties the characters face while changing from purveyors of evil magic to traveling do-gooders. For instance, after Darien and Xanaphia rescue a group of children from snow dragons, Xanaphia “didn’t know why she went to the rescue of the children.” Readers may be left to suspect that perhaps Xanaphia and her companions weren’t really all that bad to begin with.
Fans of magical battles and shaky alliances will find the story a fulfilling adventure.