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    SHADOW'S WITNESS by Paul S. Kemp


    Wizards of the Coast, November 2000

    Krollir, leader of the Night Knives Guild, summons a major demon to secure his place in Selgaunt. When his renegade lieutenant, Riven, disrupts the ceremony, the demon escapes and seizes Krollir's body. Loose on the earthly plane, the demon sets out on a feast of killing and eating of souls. While the demon has destroyed Krollir and is slowly devouring his soul, he does recognize the benefits of destroying Krollir's enemies--including both Riven and Riven's rival Cale.

    Although trained as an assassin, Cale has slowly developed a conscience. When the demon and his minions (both pure spirit and men who have been subverted by the demon) attack the home where Cale had worked as butler (and spy), Cale leads the defense. When Thazienne, the woman Cale loves, falls to the demon, Cale vows revenge, calling on his halfling friend Jak for support.

    Cale wrestles with a strange calling to become champion of the god Mask. He fears any loss of control and any dependency, but can a mere human (even if aided by a priest-halfling) achieve a victory against a prince of demons?

    Paul S. Kemp does an excellent job bringing human emotions to both human and non-human residents of Selgaunt. Cale, as a heroic figure, and Jak as a more comic character, are well characterized and developed. Riven remains something of a mystery--and will doubtless appear in a sequel. Although there is plenty of magic and swordsmanship, SHADOW'S WITNESS is primarilly a novel of a man's battles with himself and with the past that haunts him.

    Three Stars

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