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Grail of the Summer Stars (Aetherial Tales) by Freda Warrington
Cover Artist: Kinuko Y. Craft
Review by Mel Jacob
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765318718
Date: 23 April 2013 List Price $27.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Grail of the Summer Stars follows the saga begun in Elfland and continued in Midsummer Night. Most of the characters from Midsummer Night return to reach some sort of conclusion, although anything is possible with the Aetherial. The immortal Mistangamesh, Adam Montague in Midsummer Night and now Mist, awakes determined to find his brother Rufus and kill him.

Also by Freda Warrington:
Aetherial Tales:
* Elfland
* Midsummer Night
* Grail of the Summer Stars

An artist, Danny Maniford, creates terrifying visions of the past and/or future in iconic panels. Haunted by his visions and fearful of his patron, Daniel contemplates suicide. In a last desperate act, he sends a triptych to Stevie Silverwood, an old friend. She was his original inspiration for his work.

Stevie, a troubled orphan with no idea of her parentage, now manages a small art gallery and jewelry factory museum in Birmingham. She is shocked when the package from Daniel arrives. Bothered by the vivid painting, Stevie travels to Daniel's studio for clues to his whereabouts.

Meanwhile, Mist discovers Daniel's work on the internet and recognizes the woman in the picture as his sister, Aurata. He hopes Daniel can aid him in his search for Rufus. Wherever Aurata is, Rufus will also be. He meets Stevie at Daniel's studio.

When Stevie talks to Daniel's mother Frances, her fears for him grow. Something sinister haunts the family home. Then, someone attacks Stevie and steals Daniel's painting. Mist is convinced it must be Rufus. He fears the future of the world is at risk.

Warrington keeps the action moving and raises the threat level from those holding Daniel. Both Stevie and Mist must face their origins and its influence over who they are and what they will do.

The climax provides excitement as Stevie and Mist face one challenge after another. This tale is less satisfying than the earlier books. The character of Rufus is part of the problem as is Mist. The female characters are strong and make up for some of the deficiencies of the males.

Warring remains a vivid writer who writes glowing descriptions. Some of the emotions are muted in this tale and keep the reader at arms length. Too, some readers may object to the incestuous relationship between Aurata and Rufus, even though the Egyptians and others encouraged brother-sister marriages.

The ending concludes the current cycle, but leaves room for miraculous returns— after all, the Aetherial are immortal. The book is an interesting read, but less than the best Warrington can do. The cover artist created a beautiful and memorable cover.

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