The New World: Book Three of The Age of Discovery
by Michael A. Stackpole
Cover Artist: Stephen Youll
Review by Colleen Cahill
Spectra Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553586657
Date: 24 June 2008 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
[Editor's Note: We're re-running Colleen Cahill's review from our September 2007 issue.]
Explorations must all come to an end, some with happy journeys back home while others land in unexpected locations. In Michael A. Stackpole's final volume to The Age of Discovery series, The New World, we find the Anturasi family scattered across the world and even in other worlds as they face not only an invasion, but a god who wants to take control over all magic. What once was a journey to explore new lands is now a fight to save humanity from complete destruction.
The power struggle between Prince Pyrust of Deseirion and Prince Cyron of Nalenyr has evolved into a fight of all the lands against Prince Nelesquin, a long buried warrior who is attempting to take over the world. Backed by the now mad cartographer, Qiro Anturasi, Nelesquin is also aided by fanatical army, along with the great physical and magical forces of the nonhuman Viruk. Another legend emerges to face this threat, as Empress Cyrsa steps forward to resume the Imperial Throne. Cyrsa had beaten Nelesquin over seven-hundred years before in the war that caused the magical Cataclysm, but now the stakes are higher than just an empire. Not only must Nelesquin be stopped but the power behind him, Nessagafel, father of the gods, must also be checked as his ultimate goal is the death of all humans and also his children, the pantheon of gods. In this way, Nessagafel will control all magic in the world.
The Anturasi family are all involved in this fight. Keles has developed strange powers, ones that seem to allow him to shape the world around him. This brings him in direct conflict with his grandfather Qiro, who is more practiced at the magic art of creating and is completely willing to sacrifice his grandson if needed. Indeed, Qiro only seems to care for his murdered granddaughter Nirati, for whom he created an entire continent to insure she would not go to the land of the dead. It is Nirati's continued existence in the world that is the center of the conflict: Jorim discovers that while Nirati is among the living, things can escape from various levels of Hell, including the vengeful Nessagafel. Since Jorim is now a god himself, he must find a way to seal this gap which threatens all life.
Stackpole brings an exciting conclusion to this action-packed trilogy. This final volume is full of plenty of surprises and even lessor characters, such as mystic warrior Ciras Dejote and the magically endowed inventor, Borosan Gryst, are more than just bystanders. As forces from the past, from overseas and from the realm of the gods converge, there is a climax that is both quixotic and pragmatic, with no person being left untouched. Even the seemingly helpless Nirati, who has been a pawn so many times, finds the strength to take a stand against the possible end of the human race.
This is a definite must-read for any who have enjoyed A Secret Atlas and Cartomancy, the earlier two volumes in this series. If you have not picked up any of The Age of Discovery, I recommend it for those who want a fantasy work with plenty of energy, good story telling and some different and interesting kinds of magic.