Third in Brett’s once-projected five-installment—now swelled to six—Demon Cycle.
The demons in question, called “corelings,” are the bad fruit of a world that has descended from enlightened civilization to darkness, which ought to be meaningful to anyone who pays attention to the news. These corelings—they come from inside the Earth, whence their name—are sort of like vampires, but with lots more magic, and if you’re a human, you want to be endowed with or at least around someone with magical powers: Arlen Bales, say, who sports demon-fending body paint, or the desert warrior who sports a magical spear and is now assembling an army to battle the demons once and for all. Hmmm. World-ending battle driven by an object imbued with magical properties: LOTR, anyone? Brett’s debts to Tolkien are many and obvious, though there’s some Frank Herbert mixed in, too: “Soli was...still young to be wearing the robes of a full dal’Sharum, the black cloth still deep with fresh dye.” “The ring seemed a simple silver bauble, but it was etched with tiny wards and powered by a half pebble of demon bone at its center.” It has some surprises, too, as when Brett channels Thomas Hardy (“ ‘He ent bluffing,’ Elona muttered. ‘Been with him near thirty years, and still ent got a clue.’ ”) Ents? Orcs? No, but there’s even some satisfying bodice-ripping to keep the story rolling (“She moved higher, pressing his face into her breasts as she pulled harder, and that seemed to help”).
Obvious ancestry aside, and though the book is dense and a touch too busy, it’s capable fantasy.