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The Wanderer's Tale: Annals of Lindormyn    by David Bilsborough order for
Wanderer's Tale
by David Bilsborough
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2007 (2007)

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*   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This epic fantasy, set in the world of Lyndormyn, opens on the destruction of a great evil, the rawgr Drauglir, in his fortress of Vaagenfjord by invading Peladane armies - but why does Drauglir demand his Sword from his acolyte Scathur as his last forces are overwhelmed. Though the Peladane invaders find Drauglir dead and Scathur gone, the reader is left to wonder what really happened? And what befell the dread Sword?

The epic continues centuries later, with an apprentice's theft of an ancient sword. It then fast forwards to old cleric, Appa on a lonely hilltop where unbeknownst to him, a group of godlings - Time and his brothers - argue over a quest and Appa's potential role in it. Next comes a Moot of warrior Peladanes at Wintus Hall in Nordwas, which we see through the eyes of a boy, Gapp. A Lightbearer named Finwald has proposed a quest. Eventually, a reluctant group comes together, including Finwald and Appa, fighters Nibulus and his desert friend Methuselech, one-eyed mercenary Paulus, a wanderer called Bolldhe, Torca sorceror Wodeman, and Gapp. They head north towards Vaagenfjord Maw, where Drauglir met his end so long before.

What follows is a series of perilous encounters with a great variety of monsters. There are captures and escapes, separations and reunions. One of the band suffers a Gandalf-like fall into a chasm, and others make a Moria-like journey through mountain tunnels. It's hard to track all the characters and races - good and bad, human and gods - and the language is occasionally awkward, adding to the complexity for the reader. The good guys rarely get along, and only Gapp is at all symathetic. Though the book shows great imagination, it simply packs too much in. However, for those who can stick with it, a dramatic cliffhanger of an ending sets the scene for the saga's conclusion in A Fire in the North.

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