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When the Saints by Dave Duncan
Edited by Liz Gorinsky
Review by Mel Jacob
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765323484
Date: 08 November 2011 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Dave Duncan's sequel to Speak to the Devil, titled When the Saints, follows Wulfgang Magnus as he comes into his powers as a Speaker. Now he is faced with a war against his brother's castle as well as potential punishment for killing a religious. The Wends, enemies of the Jorgarians, want Castle Gallant as a means to control the traffic on the Silver Road and as a foothold in Jorgary. Wolf, concerned that his powers come from the devil, is reluctant to use them, but without them, Castle Gallant will fall and many of its occupants will die.

Wulf loves Madlenka, now Countess Magnus, handfasted to his brother Anton the Count Magnus of Cardice, and forbidden to him, but she loves Wulf. He has already saved Anton's life twice, and now he must save the entire garrison of Castle Gallant. How to help and not rely on his magical powers strains Wulf's ability.

The Hound, Havel Vranov, a former ally, has given his allegiance to the Wends and stands ready at the castle's south door to attack. His nephew killed the former count, Madlenka's father, and her brother and remains a threat. Havel has access to Speakers, so Wulf must keep him in check. He hopes that stopping the Wends will cause Havel to reverse course and remain loyal to the King of Jorgary.

The Wends plan to blast the castle with the Dragon, a bombard--a huge cannon that will shatter the walls and the gates. So far, the castle defenders cannot attack the gun because of the Wend troops ready to repel them. Castle Gallant forces are outnumbered many times over. Meanwhile, Cardinal Zdenek, the Red Spider, seeks help from Lady Umbral, a woman with great power. If the Wends win, the kingdom will be in jeopardy. He bargains with the Lady who wants a share of Wulf's powers. Desperate for help, the cardinal agrees, and she assigns one of her Speakers to provide help for the castle.

Duncan keeps the pressure on Wulf and provides a good climax to the novel. While no sequel has been mentioned, three of the Magnus brothers yet live so Duncan has left room for other adventures in the Brothers Magnus series. A successful fantasy author he has also written science fiction including Pock's World.

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