Tor, Aug 2004, 27.95, 416 pp.
Argo, weary of his abusive stepfather Herman Kretch, considers killing him while he sleeps before fleeing his East Virginia home prior to the Mosul occupying force arresting him. Concerned over leaving his mother and two sisters without protection from the oppressors, instead of murdering him he lets Kretch live while the teen flees to the north for the freedoms of the beleaguered Kingdom of Albany.
Albany aristocrat Cordelia Blakeney is more fashion conscious as she paid a seamstress to alter her military uniform to make it look just right as befitting a Lady in the Royal Women's Auxiliary. When she rides a dirigible with a lover that crashes, she is caught by the forces of Teutonic Colonel Phaal, ally of the Mosul. In camp she meets Phaal's sex slave Jessamine. Meanwhile crossing the ocean from Spain is Raphael Vega, a draftee whose unit is expected to make a suicide run in the first Mosul invasion of Albany. These four must merge their powers to become a fighing force known as the magical The Four and become the weapon to counter the supernatural allies of the Mosuls or the last vestiges of freedom will be trampled.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner