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    WELL OF DARKNESS by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman


    EOS, September 2000

    Prince Dagnarus is a younger son in a long-lived race. That means he can never expect to be king, a terrible injustice in his mind. His older brother Helmos is almost too perfect and Dagnarus resents him for it. Resents him so much that he resolves to call on whatever powers are necessary to overthrow him. In his whipping boy, Gareth, Dagnarus finds his perfect tool. Unlike Dagnarus, Gareth lacks charisma, military ability, or great personal strength. What he has is a love for Dagnarus, a dog-like devotion to him, and the willingness to study the ancient Void magics forbidden but never quite forgotten.

    To preserve peace forever, King Tamaros begs the gods for a precious gift--a jewel that allows each of the four races (human, elf, dwarf, and orken) to create Dominion Lords, Knights sworn to justice and mercy. The jewel itself, however, comes with a price--a price that Dagnarus and Gareth are willing to force all of the races to pay.

    Margaret Weis (see more reviews of novels by Weis) and Tracy Hickman (see more reviews of novels by Hickman) have become leading authors of fantasy and WELL OF DARKNESS makes it obvious why. The novel details the magic systems, the differences among the races, and the ambition that drives Dagnarus without falling into author intrusive narrative. Both the good and evil forces are presented sympathetically. If Helmos is a little too perfect, this is his fatal flaw. Dagnarus may be evil, but he is loved by his men and actually falls in love himself.

    WELL OF DARKNESS is based on the Sovereign Stone role-playing game and magic system. Unlike many novels based on role-playing games, however, WELL OF DARKNESS presents a big picture world view and a fantasy narative that will remain in the reader's imagination long after the book is replaced onto the bookcase.

    Four Stars

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