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    OMBRIA IN SHADOW by Patricia A. McKillip

    Ace Books, January 2002

    Ombria is the greatest city in the world, but it has fallen on hard times. The Prince of the city lies dying, his son a young child, his mistress despised by the court, and the evil pirate witch Domina Pearl stands ready to become regent--and to thust Ombria into chaos. The nobles try to unite around Ducon Greve, the Prince's nephew, but Ducon's hands are tied by Domina Pearl's threat to the young prince.

    Yet Ombria is more than a single city. It's history lies heavy on it, ghosts prowl the streets, and any alley or ruined shop might open the way into another city--a city in shadows. Deep within the city's underworld, a witch child, Mag, follows her witch-mistress's commands, but tries to understand, to think about what she is doing. Although her mistress supports Domina Pearl, Mag knows that she must be opposed.

    Author Patricia A. McKillip has created a wonderful city of magic. Her descriptions of Ombria ring with truth. Mag, Ducon, and Domina Pearl stand out as complex and motivated characters and their decisions, and the conflict among them, drives the story forward. Even throw-away characters such as the young prince's tutor are fascinating in their own right.

    OMBRIA IN SHADOW is a superior fantasy novel. On a small canvas, McKillip shows how wonderful fantasy can be.

    Four Stars

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