Kirkus Reviews QR Code


Vol. I of The Wars of Light and Shadow

by Janny Wurts

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-451-45306-9
Publisher: ROC/Penguin

 Wurts, coauthor (with Raymond E. Feist) of Mistress of the Empire (1992), etc., embarks on a massively ambitious five-book sword-and-sorcery epic involving good and evil, light and dark, and two warring half-brothers. On the ``splinter'' world Dascen Elur, the half-brothers Arithon and Lysaer grow up as deadly enemies, victims of a family feud; at last both are banished through a magical Gate; along the way they acquire 500-year lifespans, and eventually arrive on the world Athera, where both brothers are heir to mighty kingdoms. Athera, however, is afflicted with the Mistwraith, a sentient fog that hides the sun and causes climatic deterioration. Both bothers' magical powers--Arithon, Master of Shadows, was tutored in sorcery at Fauven; Lysaer, the self-taught Lord of Light, projects laser beams--are needed to defeat and confine the Mistwraith. But inbred into Lysaer is the need to seek justice, whatever the cost; into Arithon, forgiveness; and the banished Mistwraith has left behind a powerful curse, urging the brothers to their mutual destruction. After 300 pages of battles and musings, Lysaer retires to train new armies, while Arithon becomes apprentice to a master musician. A tremendous amount of hard work but no signs of genuine talent, composed of gnarled writing, a farrago of plot elements, and ideas no better than mediocre retreads.