Thursday, January 27, 2011

The White Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey & Larry Dixon


After ten long years the survivors of the magical Cataclysm have rebuilt their lives and a new city, White Gryphon.  Built on a cliff face overlooking a vast ocean, White Gryphon is a stronghold ready to protect it's citizens from any threat. 

When a fleet arrives from the realm of the Black Kings, things are looking a little murky.  The Black Kings control this area and unless the survivors can prove themselves they will once again have to fight a war for their lives.

Skandranon and Amberdrake are forced, once again to protect those they care about.  They agree, along with their families,  to be envoys to the Black Kings in order to try and forge an alliance with them.  That alliance is quickly threatened when a series of noblewomen who opposed the alliance are found slaughtered in their rooms.  All evidence points to one of the envoys and it's up to them to prove their innocence.

I have read this book countless times but for some reason I ended up taking a different approach to it this time.  In the past I've just thought of it as a good second installment in The Mage Wars trilogy, fun fantasy that is a pleasure to read.  This time though I found myself looking at it as more of a murder mystery.  Granted it's not your typical Agatha Christie book, but all the elements of a good mystery are there.  You just have to ignore the more outlandish setting and characters.

As a mystery, it's developed nicely.  One of the villains is set up fairly early but in such a way that it may come as a surprise when he shows up again.  The suspense and danger are palpable in this book and are driving forces behind most of the action.  As the story develops, so does the tension, and it never really lets you go.  It's blended in with the whole fantasy aspect of the book though so it never becomes overwhelming and has at it's core, the fun that Mercedes Lackey brings to all her work.

Challenges: M&S

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