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The Phoenix Endangered    by Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory order for
Phoenix Endangered
by Mercedes Lackey
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Phoenix Endangered follows The Phoenix Unchained as the second in the rousing new Enduring Flame fantasy series by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, set in the same world as the authors' Obsidian Trilogy but a millennium later in time.

The first book led childhood friends - stubborn Harrier Gillain and ever curious Tiercel Rolfort - into adventures that revealed their destinies: Tiercel as a practitioner of the long lost High Magick, bonded to a great black dragon, Ancaladar, and suffering terrifying visions of a Lake of Fire and a Fire Woman; and Harrier as a Wildmage, indeed a Knight-Mage like legendary hero Kellen. In parallel, readers saw Madiran Desert Wildmage Bisochim's good intention to prolong the life of his dragon lead him deeper and deeper into darkness and evil actions. As the first book ended it was clear that the Dark was awakening and the Light had chosen two inexperienced young men to destroy it - but first they must reach the Lake of Fire in the Madiran Desert.

As The Phoenix Endangered opens, Tiercel and Harrier journey, Tiercel on dragonback and Harrier driving a wagon (to carry Tiercel's books of magic). They are accompanied by an annoying unicorn, Kareta, who constantly nags Harrier to practice his own magic, something he is most reluctant to do. She only leaves him in peace after he uses his talent to heal a Telchi stranger, who subsequently travels with them and trains Harrier as a warrior. While this odd group bickers their way southward, another Madiran Desert Wildmage, Shaiara - who rejected Shadow-touched Bisochim's leadership of the rest of the Isvaieni - takes a desperate gamble to find refuge for her own Nalzindar tribe, leading them deep into the desert to a city of ancient legend, Abi'Abadshar.

Tiercel and Harrier's group wends their way to Tarnatha'Iteru, just as the Isvaieni tribes are unleashed to destroy all the oasis cities that edge the desert. They stay to help the defenders, are embroiled in battles and carnage, and again encounter an inhuman creature that has been following them. Harrier learns that 'The Wild Magic was good. But what was good wasn't always kind'. Eventually their paths cross that of Shaiara. As this second episode ends, they have allied against the Endarkened, none believing they have any chance of survival. Fans will eagerly await the Enduring Flame conclusion to see how it all ends.

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