Tempus and his Sacred Band of Stepsons prepare to take the Wizard War to the Mages of Wizardwall in this gripping story set in Beyond Sanctuary. With Jihan the Froth daughter at his side, Tempus and the core of the Stepsons ride into the embattled town of Tyse, where they find friends and foes among the witches, wizards, and warfighters. From the first full length novel inspired by the Thieves' World series, Mage Blood takes you into unknown realms fraught with unimaginable peril.
©1985, 2012 Janet Morris Janet Morris & Chris Morris (P)2013 Janet Morris & Chris Morris
Listening to Mage Blood brought the trek Beyond Sanctuary to life. This story, from the Beyond Sanctuary trilogy, is passionate, sensual, violent, as gritty and dark as historical fantasy can be. Hearing it read is almost like being there as Tempus and his Sacred Band take the war against sorcery to Wizardwall.
I loved the descriptions, the dialogue, the story itself. I loved the sense that I'd been transported into an ancient world where magic and the gods are at war. Tempus and his Sacred Band face witches and warlocks and all manner of monstrous, mythical enemies, yet the story never seems one bit less real, no matter how fantastic the foes or amazing the forces brought to bear against them. Roxane the witch who loves and stalks Niko makes your hair stand on end. The story always feels historic, as if you're right beside the Stepson cavalry on their journey. I really liked the fact that Mygdonia and Nisibis are actual ancient places, and that the tactics and weapons of the cavalry fighters seemed so correct, real, and vivid that you can almost smell the horses and the fearful sweat.
I loved every scene, so one is difficult to choose. I adored the scary but humorous scene where Tempus and Jihan, his lover, are attacked by sorcerers in the Free Zone, but my favorite scene of all is when Niko falls into the clutches of the witch Roxane, disguised as helpless young woman.
This story makes you worry for the Stepsons, hate Datan the sorcerer. Bur most of all, you fear for Niko, who has fallen under the spell of Roxane the Nisibisi witch. These sensual but evil enemies make you want to somehow protect the Stepsons, who are facing more than mortal enemies, perhaps more than they can handle. At any moment, you're sure that even with Tempus and his immortal Sprite along, their mission is doomed and so is the Sacred Band. I laughed, I cursed, I paced, I yelled at the characters to be careful. But of course, they couldn't hear me.
This story is a great introduction to the Beyond Sanctuary trilogy of novels and the courage of the Sacred Band itself, with their unwavering commitment to service and sacrifice. I loved it. The Stepsons become like good friends, each distinct and with many personal agendas. I really love it that the Stepsons don't all get on with one another, but put aside their differences for the betterment of all. This is a story I can listen to repeatedly and always find something new in it. If you love mythology, or sword and sorcery, or heroic fantasy, you'll love Mage Blood.
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