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Ill Met in the Arena by Dave Duncan
Cover Artist: E.M. Gist
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765316875
Date: 19 August 2008 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /

One and done, what an interesting concept in modern fantasy. This seems to be a one-off book, a true rarity in current fantasy writing. By the end of the book, plots are wrapped up and the reader doesn't have to wait for books 2-7 to know how it all works out.

From official release/information:

Product Description: The nobles of Aureity have been breeding their children for psychic powers for generations. Women's powers are mental, including psychic control and mind-reading, making them ideal rulers. Men have superhuman strength and can teleport to any place they have previously visited. Consequently, young noblemen make their fortune by competing in psychic gladiatorial contests to display their powers in the hope of being hiredóand marriedóby women of high rank.

When Quirt, an older man with obvious skill but little known record, first enters the arena, the combat circuit is abuzz wondering who he might be. But his mystery is almost eclipsed by the young cub who has been entering competitions anonymously and winning them all. Barely in his teens, full of raw power but short on training or patience, Humate is so horrified when he's bested by Quirt that he insists on finding out where he came from.

Unfortunately for Humate, the answer reaches far beyond his birth: back to the terrible wrongs done to Quirt's mother and his new wife by one of Humate's relatives, and back to Quirt's sentencing, a doom which takes away his identity until he can bring the culprit to justice. Humate is in deep denial about this familial scandal generations deep, but Quirt must try to convince him to help, compelled by his doom and by the stirrings of a new love that cannot possibly be realized in his nameless condition.

No one ever said revenge was going to be easy.

(Source: Tor)

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