The Daemon Prism: A Novel of the Collegia Magica
by Carol Berg
Review by Mel Jacob
Roc Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451464347
Date: 03 January 2012 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
Concerned over the danger Dante fears for Portier, he sends for Illario to accompany him to warn the librarian. The last time an evil mage sought Portier it was to kill him and cross the Veil. Meanwhile, Dante receives a summons from his brother with a request to return home before his father dies because the man had a message from an angel for Dante.
Temple authorities are after Dante and track him and his companions. Several skirmishes occur and eventually he is separated from Illario. Believing him dead, Dante sends Illario's man to warn Anne she too is in danger. Another of Illario's servant, thought to have returned to Merona, finds Dante and accompanies him on the perilous journey.
The journey demands all Dante's skill. He finally reaches his home village and reunites with his brother Andero. The message from his dying father only reinforces his belief in Portier's danger. Many dangers face Dante on his continuing journey.
Anne, staying with her parents, finds the mutilated corpse of Illario's man and is visited by a Temple tetrarch asking after Dante. Fearing for the mage's safety, Anne leaves to discover his whereabouts. Everything she learns increases her worry and she follows his path.
Dante, irascible, and Illario, a feather brained nobleman but a superb swordsman, are my favorites with Anne coming in third. New characters who add important elements are Andero, Dante's brother as well as a former soldier, and Rhea, a skilled Temple healer. Berg has a knack for making even minor characters interesting.
Carol Berg is a well-known and admired fantasy writer. She brings her characters to life in this the third volume of the Collegia Magica series. In this volume, we learn Dante's history and how important magic is to him. The complex relationships between the characters shift in unexpected ways. In a few cases, some readers may believe it leads to inconsistencies in behavior. Most will enjoy a fantasy setting with mixed elements of magic and religion and find the ending satisfying. A few might detect echoes of Bronte's Jane Eyre.