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Nightchild (Chronicles of the Raven) by James Barclay
Review by Mel Jacob
Pyr Trade Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781591027850
Date: 24 November 2009 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Award-winning author, James Barclay, provides the reader with a classic good versus evil fantasy in Nightchild, the concluding volume of his Chronicles of the Raven trilogy. Two members of the Raven, both mages, are faced with a horrifying choice. One of them must die to save their young daughter Lyanna. Others seek Lyanna to kill her. They call upon their comrades from the Raven now in retirement.

Erienne flees with her daughter from the Dordovan College of Magic where she had sought to raise her child, trusting the mages to help Lyanna grow into her powers. The mages, desperate to control the powerful child, inadvertently Awaken her to cause upheaval and destruction to the entire country. Elves aid Erienne's escape and take the pair to the Al-Drechar, four legendary elderly elf mages. They promise to keep Lyanna safe and to help her learn to control her immense powers.

Meanwhile the College mages launch a search for Erienne aided by her enemy, Selik, leader of the Black Wing, witch hunters bent on eradicating all magic. When Selik killed her infant sons, Erienne lashed out to kill him and thought him dead. He survived, now with the goal to find and kill her.

Denser, Erienne's husband and father of Lyanna, rallies their old comrades of the Raven to find them and save his daughter. Hirad, the barbarian, wants to send the Kaan dragons back to their home, but needs a mage to help him. He believes Denser has failed him. The Unknown, a father with an infant son, shares Denser's concern for his daughter. The mage Ilkar joins them, but is torn between his loyalty to his struggling College and the Raven. All realize they must reach Lyanna to stop the destruction of all they hold dear.

Fearing for her daughter and the growing weakness of the Al-Drechar, Erienne seeks to join forces with the Raven and Denser. She leaves Lyanna with the elderly mages, hoping they can control Lyanna until she returns. Her enemies learn of her plan and set up a trap to catch her.

A master of detailed battle scenes, Barclay also focuses on the complex relationships among the Raven as injuries take their toll. Readers can look forward to more adventures of the Raven in his four book series Legends of the Raven. Like the Chronicles, these have already appeared in the United Kingdom.

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