A surprisingly sturdy, convincing sequel to Empyrion I: The Search for Fierra (not reviewed), from the author of such juvenile, tediously overblown epics as Dream Thief (1983). Colony planet Empyrion, cut off from Earth, has a long history--including nuclear war and plague. Its society is divided into two groups: the city of Dome, which has an autocratic power structure of dictator plus guild/clan ""Hages""; and the civilized, mental-whiz Fierrans, an offshoot who survived the war to develop an independent, naturalistic society. Dome dictator Jamrog is intent on consolidating his personal power by conducting a purge of the Hages. Some leaders cooperate willingly, some are killed or tortured, others flee to organize a resistance against Jamrog's ""Invisibles,"" bloodthirsty shock troops armed with refurbished ancient weapons. The resistance engages the help of the Dhogs, devolved survivors inhabiting the ruins and underground slums of Dome. Meanwhile, the artistic Fierrans continue as usual, knowing nothing of the developing war. And the picture is complicated by the presence of four visitors from Earth (a fifth was apparently killed off in volume one). With plenty of rousing conflicts, this is a well worked-out, solidly plotted yarn--with one major drawback: the social backdrop, in structure, function, and nomenclature, is utterly confusing and all but incomprehensible if you haven't read volume one. All in all, though, a dramatic improvement over Lawhead's previous, wretched, appearances.