Daw Books, Jan 2004, 512 pp.
Twenty years have passed since Jenna MacEagan defeated her rivals to become the First Holder (see HOLDER OF LIGHTNING). She succeeded because she found the Lamh Shabbala stone that controls all the clochs. However, Jenna's enemies still lurk and are planning the abduction of Jenna's precious daughter Meriel by her Uncle Doyle, whose vow to do no harm to his half-sister ended when their mom died.
Meriel's uncle is obsessed with obtaining the Lamh Shabbala stone that channels all magic. If it means the death of his niece and anyone else so that he gains full power, so be it as he believes he was the one not Jenna who should have been the First Holder. Jenna is stunned as she loves her daughter but fears the price of acceding to the demands of her sibling as there are no guarantees that Meriel will live or that the peace will hold She also worries about those loyal to her for she remembers what happened to her beloved.
The second book in the "Cloudmages" series, MAGE OF CLOUDS, is a tremendous fantasy due to the dilemma confronting the heroine of the first book. Though the story line focuses much on Meriel's plight, Jenna is the key ingredient as she struggles between the bigger good and her own micro need; either way someone will be hurt by her decision. Fans of the first book, the author (in his variety of writing aliases), and fantasy aficionados will greatly value this powerful book that ignores the middle syndrome with a powerful plot and deep cast.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner