Saturday, March 31, 2007

[Review] DEVIL GLASS by C. Robert Cales

Devil Glass
Genre: Horror
C. Robert Cales (PublishAmerica, 2000, $34.95)
ISBN #1-59286-202-0

I've read the other reviews here, and they do the story some credit. First, forget that it's PublishAmerica. Yes, there are the occasional spelling gaffes in the text. DEVIL GLASS draws you right in, with sharpened talons, and it won't let go. Trust me on this one--I just finished reading it. If I had to reduce it to a simple equation (and if you have ever read THE OTHER), it's Stephen King meets Tom Tryon.

Antitheus Vitrum.

When someone contracts to have a swamp drained in their back yard, so they can install a pool, this strange totem ploe-like structure is uncovered. Nightmarish faces are carved into the crystal surface. The rought surface separates this from other crystals. Its black heart, contained by the nightmarish carvings etched on the fossilized wood that surrounds and contains it, unnerves anyone who comes close enough to peer into its darkened recesses. Its discovery coincides with a chain of mysterious deaths and disappearances that only seems to grow as the mystery shrouding the artifact deepens.

Joyce Robbins seems to have it all. She's starting work as a college professor, Native American Studies. She also works at the museum. She is highly respected by the people she works with--well, with the exception of Rudy. She's also, as of late, overwhelmed with memories, and feelings that she had ignored for some twenty-odd years. When Joyve and Kim Lee received word that Randy Lippencott had died in Vietnam, she and Kim lost contact as they tried to come to terms with Randy's passing. What will happen when she comes into contact with the artifact? What dark secret xould lie behind its enigmatic architecture?

Kim Lee is an enigma on to himself. He's got this knack for things--it's a bit difficult to pin down, until you read the book. Let's just say he's a bit of a clairvoyant. Well, maybe more than a bit. After they had heard that Randy died, and Joyce lit out on her own, he engaged in a journey which brought him to a Master, who would help him cope with his own grief, and to learn many things, in order to prepare...

Randy Lippencott is remarkably alive and relatively well, for someone who died in Vietnam. For three weeks, he was in a coma, misidentified as a fellow soldier, the only survivor of his platoon. He could find neither Joyce not Kim on his return to the U. S. He's now a geologist.

Together, the three of them must face the nightmare, dug up from beneath the ground, when someone wanted to install a pool. A nightmare called Antitheus Vitrum.

Devil Glass.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

[Review] Goblin Quest, by Jim C. Hines

Goblin Quest
Genre: Fantasy
By: Jim C. Hines (346 pages, DAW Books, Inc., $6.99 US/$9.99 Canadian)
ISBN #: 0-7564-0400-2

            Jig is a very lucky goblin. Of course, he would much rather put the luck back where it found him. Jig's not just any goblin, mind you: he's a goblin who would rather stay alive, and avoid beatings by his fellow goblins, who know him for a clumsy runt who gets stuck with mucking about with the lighting. Not that Jig minds the muck. It's one thing he's good at. But when a group of his fellows draft him as bait, in case invaders enter the goblin's tunnels, and told to scream loud when he dies: that way, the goblins on guard duty who are busy drinking and playing can repel the invaders. Well, Jig's along for the ride-er, as bait. All this, before breakfast.
            He's more than a bit put out when he's drafted by two princes, one dwarf, and an elf for their party's quest--to find the Rod of Power. Not that the elf really has anything to say about it. See, she's a thief, and she was sort of drafted too. The worst part of it is, he has to eat this tasteless morsel that the humans call bread, which has no flavor whatsoever. Still, it is edible, barely.
            Thus begins Jig's Big Adventure, in Goblin Quest. If the adventurers find the Rod of Power first, will Jig live long enough to go home and have some decent food? Preferably, something with meat in it.
            On the one hand, I felt sorry for Jig. Essentially, he was sleeping with the enemy (in a manner of speaking), though he did end up making a friend or two along the way. A lot of what happened during his travails really led him to some hard questions and observations about Goblin society, and his place in it: but it's done in such a way that it's funny, too. There are a few surprises along the way, not the least of which is a dragon with an appreciation of fine art, a genteel if not a gentle soul.<
            Of course, speaking of which, Goblin Hero comes out, very soon. ;-)

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Ivory Sword: The Lore of DAYONE: Books: A.A. Wolfner,Alan J. Vekich

Ivory Sword
The Lore of DAYone *

Genre: Fantasy
By: A. A. Wolfner ** (548 pages, PublishAmerica, $34.95)
Available at, B&,, and Books & Etc. Book Store
ISBN #: 1-4137-9572-2

        Come, and be transported into a world of alien intrigue, mystery, and politics.
        The Ivory Sword of the title was a gift, given to both Prince Morais. and to his twin brother, Ils, by a Fishmonger who prophesied that the two Elves would share the sword. Ils (decreed the elder of the twins by their father, King Solay, Emperor of the Liosdoackfar (Mountain Elves) Empire) has possession of the sword.
        As the story opens, Morais, wanting recognition from his father, arranges with thugs to kidnap his brother, so that he could go to the rescue, and thereby earn respect from King Solay.
        Unfortunately, this plan goes awry as a battle with Fay and Swan Knights, led by King Ceagare, King of the River and Sea Elves and King Solay's vassal (and son-in-law), leaves Morais's father and brothers dead, and his twin, Ils, a prisoner. Ceagare wants the throne, and this ill-conceived plot was the impetus for his try at the throne. Morais rides off after his brother's kidnappers.
        This stirring scene, resplendent with the guilty conscience of Morais, begins his journey  to both rescue Ils, and to prove his worth as the new Champion to the Throne. He does not, has never wanted, to be king. He never wanted this to get out of hand.
        Events spiral beyond his control and the Elf Prince, Morais, gathers companions along the journey to rescue his brother, each with his or her own reasons for allying themselves with him and his cause.
        Morais sort of ends up with the sword. It's shrouded in mystery, and it seems to disappear, only to reappear at odd intervals. He has it for an initial defense, but it vanishes like an enigma, only to turn up again at the strangest times.
        Will Morais solve the mystery of the Ivory Sword? Will he succeed in his quest, to save his brother and, perhaps, avenge his father's death? Will Morais's adopted emblem, the White Rose triumph over the equally enigmatic emblem of the Black Rose, the symbol for the Spectral Dragoons who stole his brother away, and killed his father and brothers on the battlefield, along with Ceagare?
        This world is a rich tapestry of many races--Elves, Dwarvess, Dragons, Syrons, and others--a few of whom join the Prince in his quest, all with a single cause: to rescue, or revenge, their loved ones. This is the first book in the series and, as I came to its end, I found myself looking forward to the second book in the series.
        The prologue, and the epilogue, are separate from the main story; yet, they are important to the story, overall, and not to be skipped.

* The Lore of the DayONE comes from a game called DayONE or Day One. They created the game and the people in the acknowledgment play tested. The game generated some of the characters in the book. The teenage daughter of one of the authors created the Syrons.
** A. A. Wolfner is a pen name for Alan Vekich and Art Kessner.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

[Review] BEAR DAUGHTER, by Judith Berman

Review of BEAR DAUGHTER by Judith Berman

      Cloud has spent the first twelve years of her life as a bear, the happy daughter of a human woman called Thrush, and a bear father, called Lord Stink, who is one of the First People. The book opens at some point after her stepfather, Lord Rumble, has killed, and eaten the heart of, her father, and taken her mother for his woman.
      A lot of people are surprised that Cloud became human. No one expected it. Cloud's lost her memories, too. The only things she remembers are glimpsed in dreams and images. There's an empty place in her, one that no food will fill. Her mother's forced to reject her, and Lord Rumble wants her dead. I mean, what's a girl to do, but run away from home when her stepfather tries to kill her?
      Thus begins Cloud's journey, a travel among and between the mortal and immortal worlds, in a search to find the bones of her father and brothers, and take them to the Edge of the World so that they can be born anew, even though she doesn't quite feel up to the task laid before her. It is a journey where she will learn to accept herself, her origins, and embrace both her past, and her future, while trying to learn how to live as a human girl.
      With Native American mythology as its base, Cloud's story engages you from the beginning, as you follow her quest, which is as much coming to terms with who and what she is, as to save the spirits of her father and brothers.
      On a more focused level, this is a story about one young woman's struggle to come to terms with herself, a voyage of discovery to find out who she is, what is her purpose in life, to stretch and surpass her limits. It is a story of acceptance, and self-acceptance.
      And, quite frankly, it's a good read.
      Bear Daughter is available on AMAZON.COM, and can also be found at, or requested by, your local bookseller.