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    THE REDEMPTION OF ALTHALUS by David and Leigh Eddings

    Del Rey, January 2001

    Althalus is a thief famous for his good luck, but all of a sudden, nothing seems to go right. He's just in the mood to be asked to take on a job--and what a job. He's supposed to steal the book from the house at the end of the world. Althalus sets off to steal the book, but far more powerful forces are at work than just one thief. He becomes trapped in the house and trained for a mission.

    Thousands of years later, Althalus emerges without the book, but with a new set of goals in life. He has become part of an epic struggle between the three gods--of creation, fecundity, and destruction. As chief worshiper of his captor, Dweia, goddess of nurture, Althalus must ensure that the universe is protected from a plot to reshape the past and destroy the present. If he has to lie, steal, and cheat a little to serve the greater good, well, Althalus was a thief after all. Even a couple of thousand years with Dweia hasn't changed that.

    David and Leigh Eddings (see more reviews of novels by these authors) have created a fascinating universe where the gods pursue their own agendas, using humans for their own purposes without any moral restraint. It's up to Althalus to pull together an odd assortment of chosen people, hire an army to give a military victory, then determine the more subtle threat created by popular revolution. Althalus becomes a highly realized character. His many defects (he really doesn't have much of a sense of property) are presented endearingly and he does learn to care about others.

    Fans of the Eddings will enjoy this new universe. They will certainly recognize Dweia, who resembles Polgara (see our review of Polgara the Sorceress) even down to some of her character tags and common expressions. Indeed, this could be termed a defect--THE REDEMPTION OF ALTHALUS is more than a little derivative of the Belgarion series that introduced Polgaria. The character of Althalus, however, allows this novel to claim its place. The Eddings' writing talents make this an enjoyable read.

    Four Stars

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