By Erin Hoffman
PYR, 278 pages, $16.00

Vidarian Rulorat enjoys his life of captain of his ship and takes pride in the success he has made of the family business. So he is reluctant when he is summoned by a high level priestess, Endera, to provide secret escort to another priestess, Ariadel, to a temple across the sea. More than a little suspicious about her ulterior motives for demanding his services, Vidarian is nevertheless bound by a historical family obligation to the priestess and agrees to take the commission. The journey sets off a series of events that were predicted in ancient prophesies and will change Vidarian and the world forever.

Sword of Fire and Sea is a fantastic debut novel by author Erin Hoffman. Vividly descriptive, she quickly pulls the reader into her world and it is an interesting one full of gryphons, magic and good old-fashioned pirates. Her characters are well written, engaging, and realistic. The story is nicely conceived, well-paced and events unfold logically. The book, the first in a planned series, also sets things up nicely for the next installment. Fans of fantasy series should definitely read this book.

Barbara Cothern