Tor, Sep 2001, 26.95, 464 pp.
Former peasant, Prince Garric has done the impossible. Garric has forged a government with him in charge of the Kingdom of the Isles. This is the first central government in a millennium plus years.
However, not everyone is content with Garric ruling the Isles. Rebels and their outside allies unite to try to overthrow the new regime. Led by wizards who see mortals as cannon fodder and the Children of the Mistress, who cast spells, Garric's foes have overwhelming superiority in numbers, weapons, and magic. Thus, when the final battle happens, Garric's chances of surviving is ground zero let alone winning, but then again he shares cerebral space with his ancestor, the brilliant strategist King Carus.
The fourth book in the Lord of the Isles series, MISTRESS OF THE CATACOMBS, is a strong epic fantasy that will elate readers of previous tales and send newcomers seeking those novels. The tale has all the elements expected in a high fantasy adventure, but centers on the coming of age of a youngster thrust into a position of grave responsibility. David Drake flies like an eagle, proving he is one of the stronger speculative fiction authors.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner