A good ending to a great series, June 5, 2003
Reviewer: Steven Sammons (Auburn University, AL United States)
Barbara Hambley's Sun Wolf series is one of her best, and this book is a thrilling end to it. Sun Wolf returns to his old troop of mercenaries to help them against a dark wizard who is bent on their destruction. Again, a vividly written book where the characters are just like you and me. Multiple themes run through this book, some of the more prominent ones include things we all face as human beings. Sun wolf returns to the group of people (like family) he recruited, trained, and led for 20 years as a mercenary, but now he is a wizard, not a merc. Also, he is no longer the leader. Each character must deal with those changes in their own way, and Hambley is up to the task of showing us that the question, "Can we ever go home again?" is as real to mercenaries and wizards as it is to you and me. Hambley again displays her skill at both fantasy and mystery here, as Sun Wolf struggles to find out who put the curse on the troop, and why. The climatic finish is worthy of high fantasy, and will grip the reader to the thrilling end. The aftermath is bittersweet, and satisfying. I encourage fantasy fans everywhere to find the three books of this series and read them. You won't be disappointed, and I suspect they will find their way into your library to read over and over.
Good fantasy, leaves the door open for more in the series (as I write this in 2018, Hambly has written a number of short stories and novellas in this universe). I didn't find this series as compelling as some of her other fantasy works though. I did wonder how the evil magician got so good having to work in secret for years, you'd think that mind enslavement thing would be tricky to learn. Sun Wolf and Starhawk are interesting characters and Hambly is very accomplished at setting a scene and writing good dialogue.
From the Publisher
Ever since he first learned he had the power of magic, Sun Wolf and his beloved Starhawk had been searching for a master wizard to teach him the full skills needed for its use. But true wizards were rare since the time of the evil Altiokis. He had learned a little, but never what he needed.
Now his old company of mercenaries had come to him for help. They had been hired to conquer the city of Vorsal, but all their efforts had been ruined by a series of minor and major mishaps that could only be caused by a wizard, working for the city.
Sun Wolf found and removed most of the hex marks that were everywhere, freeing the company. But the wizard eluded him--until the night a storm that he attempted to turn. Then he met the wizard--a dark hand among the storm clouds--who laughted at him and swore to enslave him. Sun Wolf knew it was no idle threat. He had found the one he sought. Now could he escape?