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    Review of THIS ROUGH MAGIC by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint & Dave Freer

    Baen, December 2003

    Defeated in his attempt to capture Venice (see our review of THE SHADOW OF THE LION) the demon Jagiellon hasn't given up on his plans to destroy the empire and his temporary ally, Emerick, King of Hungary is the perfect tool. Using Jagiellon's money and Byzantine ships, Emerick attacks the Venitian island of Corfu. Emerick hopes to weaken Venice, but Jagiellon has a darker motive. Corfu swarms with an ancient magic--a magic that, harnested by Jagiellon, could tip the balance of power between good and evil.

    Unfortunately for Jagiellon and Emerick, Benito Valdosta, Prince Manfred, and Manfred's fearsome bodyguard Erik, along with a large group of martial monks, are on their way to Corfu. But Emerick doesn't give up easily and he has plenty of assistance, both magical, treacherous, and from his own cannons, to make sure that his conquest succeeds. Best of all, between his Byzantine allies and Jagiellon's sea-monster shaman, Venice remains in complete ignorance of the fate of its critical colony.

    Authors Mercedes Lackey (see more reviews of novels by Lackey), Eric Flint (see more reviews of novels by Flint) and Dave Freer (see more reviews of novels by Freer) combine to deliver an emotionally satisfying and militarilly adventurous tale. The combination of alternate history and fantasy is strengthened by strong emotional ties and romantic entanglements amongst the characters. If the first novel in the series belonged to Kat and Marco, this one belongs to Benito and Maria--separated by Maria's stubornness and Benito's youthful mistakes.

    THIS ROUGH MAGIC should be read as part of the series. Much of the story only makes sense in the context of THE SHADOW OF THE LION (buy it from Amazon or read it free from the Baen Library). Both of these are substantial books and require a significant investment in terms of reader time. In my opinion, they are well worth it and, if anything, THIS ROUGH MAGIC is even better than SHADOW.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 2/25/04

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