by James Barclay

Prometheus Books, $17.00, 420 pages

In the aftermath of a war that tore their world apart, the people of Balia are rebuilding. The situation is dire – families are starving, ill, and have little hope of things improving. In addition to this reality, there is a new threat coming from another faction determined to extinguish mages from the earth and certain to create another war with even more devastating effects. The Raven, a collection of Mercenaries, is working on rebuilding the college of mages but soon find that they are in the middle of conflicting factions all vying for power and control of the people of Balia.

Elfsorrow starts out with a bang – or, rather, a violent skirmish – and doesn’t slow down. The writing is fast-paced and has several intriguing storylines, particularly around the hateful fanaticism that drives one of the main characters throughout the story. This is not a novel to start without first having read the author’s previous series, Chronicles of the Raven as this book picks up where those left off and will be a confusing book for those without that background information.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern