Tar, Sept 2003, 25.95, 448 pp.
In the cold regions of the North known as Vinland lives Tirzah and her father who create beautiful glass objects. They are contented until Druse gambles away everything they earned, leaving them deeply in dept. To wipe out their arrears, they are sold into slavery and travel by boat to Ashdod in the South. There, Tirzah shows the Master of the Magi Boaz her unusual skill as a glassmaker.
Boaz sends her and her father to Grensholme, the slave city that lies in the shadow of Threshold, a pyramid structure that has taken eight generations to create. All that is left to do is put the finishing touches of glass where needed which is why Tirzah and other master glassmakers are desperately needed. When Tirzah meets other of her kind, she learns she is an Elemental magician and that is why she can hear the glass chatter. Her magic is forbidden in Ashdod where the state religion is the power of the One. When Boaz takes over the working of Threshold he forces her into his bed.
Over time, Tirzah realizes that the Mage is fighting his own nature and when he lets his mask slip can be very loving and tender. On the day Threshold is finished, a creature from the Vale enters the world and takes over the minds of everyone in the area. Tirzah and Boaz along with several other elementals are able to escape to a place where they can learn to use their powers to send the evil creature back into Infinity before he destroys the world.
This stand-alone novel from the creator of The Wayfarer Redemption series is epic in scope and brilliant in world building. There is enough action to satisfy sword and sorcery fans and enough romance to satisfy fans of that genre. The metamorphosis of Boaz from a cold and rigid master to a warm and caring elemental necromancer is totally believable because the character slowly changes by events that affect him personally.
Tirzah is no whimpering lass who submits to slavery but a warrior magician who fights to save herself and her loved ones from the affect of the creature of the Vale. She loves strongly and it is the strength of her caring that allows Boaz to lower his guard around her so that when the time comes he is at her side, fighting to undo the damage he and other magi have caused. Although their goal was not evil, they played around with forces without considering the consequences because in their arrogance, they thought there would be none. They paid a huge price for their presumption and the reader will feel satisfied and more by their ultimate fate. Ultimately it is Boaz who makes the biggest sacrifice but his bond with Tirzah is so strong it overcomes time and space. The audience will want to see the further adventures of Tirzah and Boaz because these two are not the type of characters that will be content to rest on their laurels.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner