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    Review of IMMORTALIS by R. A. Salvatore (see his website)


    Del Rey, May 2003

    Aydrian, son of Jilesponie and the long-dead ranger Elbryan, has seized the thrown of Honce the Bear and now seeks immortality in the form of perpetual fame. Supported by the great nobles and armies of Honce, Aydrian sets off on a mission of conquest. Not content with posessing the kingdom that he has usurped, Aydrian sends armies into the unsettled southern kingdom of Behren and martials his forces against the established church of Honce--the Abellicans.

    Although Aydrian has clearly overreached, his opponents are scattered and disorganized. His mother, the only other mortal with anything close to Aydrian's skill with the magical jewels, is reluctant to do anything to oppose her own son. The church is torn between the orthodox and heretics who follow the teachings of Aydrian's mentors Marcalo De-Unnero and Abot Olin. And the legitimate heir to the late king has no armies, no strong base of support. Aydrian's march across Honce and the world seems likely to be uncontested. Except that Aydrian's former mentor Olin overreaches in the south, attacking the one country that Aydrian had specifically ordered him to avoid. And Aydrian's own attack on the elves who raised him--and abused him according to his lights--finally convinces his mother that she must act.

    After a series of battles that fill IMMORTALIS without really advancing the cause of rebel Prince Midalis, the final battle pits martial arts and magic against the most powerful force in the world--the demon that has never given up its dream to regain control of the planet.

    R.A. Salvatore (see more reviews of novels by Salvatore writes an exciting adventure story, tapping into powerful and universal emotions of mother-love, love between man and woman, and love for conquest and fame. Aydrian makes a great anti-hero. Although Jilesponie is clearly the hero, I found myself wishing that Aydrian would win and wipe the increasingly whiny Jilesponie out of the story. The were-tiger De-Unnero too becomes a partially sympathetic character as he pursues his true beliefs about the future of the church he loves.

    I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit to a few quibbles. First, IMMORTALIS spends too much time not advancing the central story line. All of the adventures in the south are simply unnecessary--Midalis wins nothing by victory and risks everything through defeat. Second, the book badly needs more editing. There is too much repetition--admittedly, in the real world we really do have discussions that go on forever and repeat themselves, but do we need these in a novel? And Salvatore seems to find a few favorite words to beat into the dirt.

    Fans of this series (including me) will ignore these quibbles--but, I think, join me in hoping that Salvatore will address them in future novels.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 6/12/03

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