J. V. Jones worked initially for a record label in her native Liverpool, later moving to San Diego, California, where she ran an export business and was marketing director for an interactive software company.
The worst thing about this lengthy high fantasy is the opening summary of its equally weighty predecessor, but even those put off by the clumsy appetizer will soon find themselves savoring a main course of fine ingredients prepared with considerable skill. Jones has taken some style lessons from modern fantasists such as the eminent George R.R. Martin, but her tale is unique and intriguing, and its atmosphere unwaveringly compelling. The beautifully interwoven lives of its characters drive the story. Magically gifted changeling Ash March has escaped from her power-hungry foster father Penthero Iss with the help of outcast sharpshooter Raif Sevrance, whose kin were murdered by Vaylo Bludd, leader of a rival clan. Iss is playing various clan lords against each other in hopes that they'll leave a power vacuum for him to occupy. As three armies go on the march, Ash heads into the territory of the ancient and mysterious Sull. The lonely Raif maims himself to win acceptance in a colony of fellow exiles, only to suddenly learn his own destiny. Even the minor characters are complex and have fascinating stories: Raif's widowed mother is forced to marry her rapist; a dull-witted diamond miner tries to rescue his master; the young half-brother of a would-be king is bartered to another clan in exchange for their military support. Jones is brilliant at slow build-up of dramatic tension, but some climaxes feel brief and unsatisfying by comparison-the book's only real flaw. (Sept. 16) Forecast: The planned publicity blitz should help to bring this relatively unknown author into the spotlight where she belongs. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Raif Severance, one of the ravenborn, and companion Ash March, a young woman with a dark power growing within her, make an unlikely couple whose destinies conjoin to send them on a mission to save the world from creatures known as the Unmade. Set against the background of an icebound world where danger waits at every turn, this follow-up to A Cavern of Black Ice introduces a varied cast of memorable characters who place their lives on the line to save their world. The author of the "Book of Words" series maintains his accomplished storytelling style in a fantasy epic that belongs in most collections. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.