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The Mask and the Sorceress    by Dennis Jones order for
Mask and the Sorceress
by Dennis Jones
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2001 (2001)
* *   Reviewed by Wesley Williamson

This is the second book in a series, The House of the Pandragore, following The Stone and the Maiden. However, it stands very well on its own. Theatana, insane sister of a joint ruler of the great civilisation of the Ascendency, has been exiled to a distant island. Raiders from an unknown far southern continent raid it and she escapes with them after killing the captain of her guard. The murder awakes within her seeds of black sorcery, which she uses to gain new allies and power.

Meanwhile, Ilarion, heir to the Ascendency, is captured in his pursuit of Theatana by a sister ship of the raider, and becomes a slave to the ruler of Haidra. This is an island near the southern continent, which has inherited remnants of the civilisation which once held sway there. It is now deeply divided between sister and brother rulers, and between the influence of god and goddess.

This conflict, directed by Theatana, culminates in a bloody victory for her, and a final meeting between her and Ilarion. It makes a somewhat forced and hurried ending, which too obviously sets the stage for the next book. On the whole The Mask and the Sorceress is very well written and crafted, making an excellent read despite its flawed ending.

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