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Thornlost    by Melanie Rawn order for
by Melanie Rawn
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Thornlost follows Touchstone and Elsewhens as the third in Melanie Rawn's unusual Glass Thorns fantasy series. It blends fantasy and the stage, in a world filled with different magical races.

Series lead Cade Silversun is a Wizard/tregetour who magically charges glass wands for performances. He formed a troupe with skilled fettler Rafe, masquer Jeska, and glisker Mieka, a capricious Elf with huge talent. Lord Fairwalk became their manager. Cade was tortured by visions of future disaster, elsewhens mainly involving Mieka and the lovely, manipulative woman he is to marry. Readers share Cade's elsewhens interspersed throughout the story.

The second episode sent the Touchstone troupe accompanying an embassy to the Continent (where magic is feared and forbidden) to escort Tregrefina Miriuzca back to Albeyn to wed dissolute Prince Ashgar. The Archduke stood in for the Prince on the journey and sought to own Touchstone. Cade had visions of a Fae treasure, a powerful necklet and a crown. And Mieka wed a lovely Caitiffer - they had a child, Jindra, and Mieka's mother-in-law shares their home.

As Thornlost opens, Cade learns of the Caitiff bloodline and their forbidden talent of stitching spells. Elsewhens tell him that Mieka's mother-in-law is spying on him for the Archduke. One of Touchstone's competitors, Black Lightning, employs a magic in their performance targeted to specific races - why? And Cade opens up to Mieka a little about his elsewhens.

As they travel the performance circuit, the troupe keeps coming across a young blond woman, Megs, with all kinds of talents, who is not what she seems. They manipulate events, helped by a pregnant Miriuzca, so that women will be allowed to attend performances. When Cade has elsewhens of dark legends, he wonders if they just might turn out to be true. And the sinister Archduke continues to manipulate events.

I enjoy this series though I do find it slow moving (something I blame on the recent trend to string out fantasy series well beyond a trilogy). Thornlost moves things along on several fronts and does introduce an intriguing new character in Megs. I look forward to what comes next in Window Wall, just released.

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