Icefalcon's Quest - Darwath, Bk 5 Author:Barbara Hambly Hitherto, Hambly's books about Darwath, a world menaced by awakened malign sleepers and an ice age, have been classic portal fantasies, in which the emphasis is on two transplanted Californians, Gil and Rudy, who are learning to cope with a world of magic and swordplay. In the original Darwath trilogy, the menace is the Dark, hivemind beings... more » with a taste for human flesh who wreck civilization in a matter of weeks when their brainless hominid herds die; in the singleton Mother of Winter, it was devouring fungi and the old cold mind behind them. This new book shifts emphasis to Icefalcon, the exiled plains nomad who has come to value civilization without feeling a part of it, and to the corrupt magus who kidnaps Rudy's young royal stepson for his ancestral memories. Lost in the wastes of the North is another refuge against the cold and the Dark, a Keep which has, rather literally, a mind of its own. Icefalcon has to cope with the cold and the vividly evoked claustrophobia of old dark places; he also has to comprehend the rejection of his barbarian clan.
Chaos reigned in the Eastern Lands: as the fearsome Alketch army mounted siege, the young Prince Tir was snatched from the heart of Dare's Keep. Behind the terror was the depraved, hook-handed General Vair na-Chandros. He had learned that that royal child possessed forbidden wisdom, a secret the bloodthirsty Vair intended to use to conquer the world.
One man posed a threat to Vair's vaunting ambition: the legendary warrior known as the Icefalcon. Banished by his own people and scorned as a barbarian by others, only he could hope to free the boy from Vair's clutches. With his sister Cold Death -- a sorcerer whose magic was as sharp as her tongue -- the Icefalcon embarked on a dangerous mission of rescue and redemption that would force him to wage his greatest battle...for his prince, for his honor, and for all eternity.« less
Previous Darwath books focused on the character development of Rudy (brash young wizard), Gil (stoic scholar-warrior), and Ingold (grizzled yet whimsical wizard-warrior) as the major players, while the grim barbarian known as Icefalcon remained cloaked in mystery.
This book is Icefalcon's turn to shine; our old friends are still around but moved back a little bit to let him take the center. We learn more about the rugged background of Icefalcon's stern tribe, as they wrestled a living from a landscape full of enemies and danger. And we learn of the soul-crushing betrayal that ripped him from his family and his people.
In the present day, Icefalcon must set out on a desperate pursuit after a kidnapped prince, knowing he will have to confront his past in order to survive.