Firebird, 2004 (1995)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
he four young friends - Princess Teressa, Prince Connor, Tyron and Wren - must grow up in a hurry, when the adult world descends on them with a vengeance in
, third in the series. Princess Teressa survives the treachery that kills her parents when Sorceror King Andreus invades Cantirmoor. Wanting to retain her freedom of action, Tess evades her uncle Fortian's planned regency, and begins to gather an army.
rince Connor initially leads guerilla resistance groups against invading forces, and both Wren and Tyron take on quests. Wren agrees to seek the aid of Hawk Rhiscarlan, the magician who caused the foursome trouble in
. And Tyron travels to Senna Lirwan, hoping to avoid Andreus's magical traps, raid his library, and weaken their enemy's magic. This is a darker episode than the first two, as Tess is devastated by the loss of the parents she was just beginning to know, and they all must deal with the reality of war and death. Tess learns to compromise, and to use the tools available to her. Hawk, busy creating a free society, is indebted to Wren, and Tyron wins help from Iyon Daiyin descendants in the mountains. Connor develops as a leader, and explores the roots of his magic. As usual, one of the friends gets into serious trouble, and others rush to the rescue. Sadly, the pressures of events mould characters in ways that draw friends apart.
f course, the four good guys win the day, though their allies' involvement is ambiguous at best, leaving room for further plots and magical challenges. As the episode draws to a close, Tess is left busy sorting out her kingdom, with Tyron (now a master magician) helping her in an argumentative fashion. Connor sets off for the Summer Islands, with hints that Wren will follow him into a fresh adventure - one that I'm keen to read!
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