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    WOLF'S HEAD, WOLF'S HEART by Jane Lindskold


    TOR, August 2002

    Wolf-raised Firekeeper has her hands full with her obligations to the royal (human) family and to the royal animals. The evil Queen Gustin/Valora has stolen magical items and intends to use their forbidden powers to reclaim her thrown. Evil Lady Melinda Shield may have the ability to unlock those magical powers--but do her ambitions allow her to share control with another? Somehow, Firekeeper, along with assorted young noble friends, must protect the royal family from the Queen's assasination attempt, recover the magical artifacts, and resolve the budding conflict between animal and human.

    WOLF'S HEAD, WOLF'S HEART is a huge novel--the hardback edition is over 600 pages of small print--but the action doesn't really begin for the first couple of hundred pages. Author Jane Lindskold (see more reviews of novels by Lindskold) manages a balance between action and the romantic entanglements of her young characters. Interestingly, the male characters play the secondary role that female characters play in many traditional fantasy novels. In contrast, Lindskold's primary protagonists are all females.

    Lindskold does a good job rendering Queen Valora's ambassador, Baron Waln (Walnut) Endbrook sympathetically, despite his amoral character and occasionally evil behavior. Lindskold is a talented enough author to know that humanizing the antagonists can help strengthen the novel. Unfortunately, WOLF'S HEAD, WOLF'S HEART needs a lot of help. From the botched assassination (Firekeeper asks why such a public and doomed assassination was attempted but no one ever answers this question) to the overblown concerns over the assault on a lighthouse (are we really supposed to believe that a dozen pirates trapped in a lighthouse are a threat to two kingdoms), Firekeeper's friends are too powerful (and just in time, new friends appear whenever things look dicey) and her enemies too pathetic to add much suspense.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 11/06/02

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