By Melanie Rawn
DAW, $25.95, 374 pages

It is often said that a prequel to a series is usually not as good as the original series. In this case that rings true. Author Melanie Rawn is a co-creator of The Golden Key trilogy. She now returns to that world with a prequel called The Diviner. The Diviner is about Azzad, who survives the massacre of his family because he was with his favorite mistress. He runs from his enemies hoping to hide and survive in the desert until such time he can have his revenge. In the desert Azzad encounters a tribe that has a special gift with magic so he uses this to help the people of his new home and to extract revenge. Azzad’s son, Alessid, decides to build an empire so that his family would never be threatened again. After his death, his son Qmar decides that more needs to be done than just take revenge, he wants to change how the world thinks.

This book is a mess, with wild jumps in time and characters. It is difficult to keep track of all the names and places and the pseudo-Arabic language used is difficult to follow. Not Mrs. Rawn’s best work.

Reviewed by Kevin Winter