Prophecy: Child of Earth
Tor, 2001 (2000)
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Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
his is the second of a trilogy that began with
Rhapsody: Child of Blood
and will end in
Destiny: Child of the Sky
(just released in hardcover). The first book brought together the Three of prophecy: Rhapsody, a half-Lirin former prostitute, Namer and musician; the half-Bolg half-Dhracian Achmed the Snake, a renowned assassin; and the huge half-Bolg half-Bengard Grunthor. They escaped a F'dor demon and the obliteration of the island of Serendair by passing through the center of the Earth, through fire and through time, arriving in a new land several generations later. Penetrating the inferno caused a physical transformation, which gave Rhapsody supernatural beauty. She also picked up the legendary sword Daystar Clarion inside the Earth.
n the new realms, Achmed became King of the cannibalistic Firbolg race and worked with Rhapsody and Grunthor to civilize them ... somewhat. Rhapsody also encountered the mysterious Ashe, part dragon and always hidden within a cloak of mist. They discovered that the F'dor demon arrived before they did, and is now embodied in a host, whose identity is unknown to them. There are also mysteries. The first (answered in this volume) connects a tale of two tragic young lovers, soulmates Emily and Sam, to the main plot. The second, still left open, is that of the role of a future manipulator of events, Meridion who works the Time Editor.
he story is already complex at the beginning of the second book and I recommend re-reading the first if you have not done so recently, as a reminder of characters and events - it's definitely not a tale to pick up in the middle. In
, Rhapsody travels with Ashe to find the dragon Elynsynos. Their relationship develops along the way and Ashe falls for Rhapsody, who is delightfully oblivious to the effects of her beauty on those around her. There are amusing moments as when Ashe attempts to test her Cymrian origins, using rusty language skills. Instead of saying '
I really love to watch you bend over ... And you have the most incredible backside
' he comes out with '
I love to watch you squat ... you have the most beautiful muffins
.' One of the strengths of the series is the banter between its characters, amongst the Three as well as between Ashe and Rhapsody - reminiscent of the dialog in the Eddings'
ith Ashe's aid, Rhapsody meets the dragon, and is trained in wielding her fiery sword by its previous holder, the Lirin swordmistress Oelendra. She learns to fear that Ashe is not what he appears, especially after a fierce battle with a F'dor assassin when Rhapsody saves the Patriarch of Sepulvarta. Achmed and Grunthor have their own adventures, in which Achmed discovers more of his Dhracian heritage. And the F'dor and his assistant Rakshas work their own foul plots. Rhapsody develops in this episode as a true and modest heroine, who does not expect to survive encounters with the demon, but is willing to give everything she has to make a difference in the world.
was enthralled by the first in this series and wondered if further entries would live up to it. If anything,
has surpassed its predecessor, giving its readers a romantic epic of heroic adventure in a complex and very interesting fantasy world. In its ending, the author created some intriguing dilemmas for her protagonists, to carry the plot into the final volume - which I can't wait to read.
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