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    THE KINGLESS LAND by Ed Greenwood

    Tor Books, Tom Doherty Associates, March 2000

    Two veteran soldiers from a lost war decide to steal a dress from the Lady of Jewels' and set off a chain of events that leads to discovery of the stones of power--stones that can raise the sleeping king of the Aglirta, the kingless land, or can give the servants of the snake-god hideous power. Embra Silvertree, the Lady of Jewels, has plans of her own. If she stays, her father will gradually harness her powers and embed her into the walls of his palace. Since this would kill her, she reasonably wants to flee--warrior Hawkrin and thief Craer Delnbone have upset just enough of the magic wards during their attempted burglary to make her escape possible. Joined by healer Sarasper, they form the 'Band of Four.'

    Embra's father is unwilling to give up his plans for her and bends his powers and the powers of his dark mages to her capture and the destruction of the other members of the band. Only the powers of the magic stones give them any hope of salvation--and the stones have been lost of hundreds of years.

    Ed Greenwood (click here to see other reviews of novels by this author) has created a fascinating world of magic and warriors. His background as a fantasy game designer shows through in his comprehensive magic system and the intriguing use of spells. The interplay between the four heros contrasts with the relationship among the four wizards (including Baron Silvertree, Embra's father) who are hunting them. As is often the case, the evil wizards have all the good lines.

    Two Stars

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