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    TOR, September 2001

    Prince Garric is the first ruler of the Isles for a thousand years, but his reign is not unquestioned. Local rulers haven't reconciled themselves to the loss of their authority and a new religion has taken hold--a religion whose deity talks directly to her worshipers. Garric makes plans to deal with the threats, but the enemy strikes first scattering Garric's allies throughout time and geography. Garric's soul is ripped from his body and sent a thousand years ahead to a time when he is remembered as merely a failed and short-lived ruler.

    Although Garric and his allies are separated, each remains connected to the common danger--the Mistress who relies on blood magic and who is opening a portal into the human dimension. Although each acts as best they can, every step they take seems to bring the world closer to its destruction.

    Using the popular episodic method (alternating brief scenes from various characters' points of view and in different locals), author David Drake (see more reviews of novels by this author) follows the paths of Garric, whose soul has been switched with a brain damaged youth; Carus, the long-dead king of the Isles who takes over Garric's body; Ilna, a weaver whose weavings affect the greater reality around her; and Cashel, Ilna's brother and expert with the quarterstaff. This limited number of stories stretches, but does not break the reader's ability to keep the stories connected, especially as the characters only reunite in the climactic battle at the end of the novel.

    MISTRESS OF THE CATACOMBS is an enjoyable and action-filled read.

    Two Stars

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