Select one of the keywords
Above His Proper Station: Volume Two of The Fall of the Sorcerors    by Lawrence Watt-Evans order for
Above His Proper Station
by Lawrence Watt-Evans
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In addition to his entertaining Annals of the Chosen, Lawrence Watt-Evans embarked on a series (The Fall of the Sorcerors) that is essentially a fantastic retelling of Rafael Sabatini's brilliant French Revolutionary historical, Scaramouche. The first book was A Young Man Without Magic, and Above His Proper Station is the second.

The series hero is Anrel Murau. Despite being the son of sorcerors (Walasia's aristocracy), Anrel rejected his magical heritage after finding his parents dead as a child. Anrel was raised by his sorceror uncle Dorias alongside his cousin Saria. Though sorcerors control the forces of nature in Walasia, food shortages had fomented discontent in the realm, causing the Emperor to summon the Grand Council. Anrel's best friend Valin and other idealists hoped for radical changes.

After Valin was ruthlessly murdered by the province's ruler, Lord Allutar, Anrel (calling himself Alvos) made a seditious speech, to give his dead friend a voice. He ended up on the run from authorities. Anrel joined traveling witches (who apply their small talents to help commoners) and fell in love with Tazia. After her elder sister Reva accepted a commission to bespell Lord Allutar - and was subsequently hung by him - Anrel fled again.

As Above His Proper Station opens, Anrel arrives in the Walasian Empire's capital, Lume, where he spent years as a student. Rejected by old acquaintances as too dangerous, and almost penniless, Anrel ends up in the dreaded Pensioners' Quarter, where he makes a living - and new friends - amongst thieves and pickpockets. Then, with city folk close to starvation, when grain barges arrive and bread baked from it proves inedible, a riot erupts and is brutally suppressed.

Anrel finds refuge with Lord Blackfield, a Quandishman acquaintance on a mission to put an end to black magic. Through Blackfield Anrel makes contact with Valin's friends on the Grand Council. Appointed to it himself he speaks eloquently and again influences events, but not in a direction he had foreseen. As a result of his actions, radicals are empowered by gaining access to the Great List of sorcerors' true names.

After a fortunate reunion with Tazia, Anrel finds that he must once again flee for his life - and must persuade his hostile uncle and cousin to join him. I am enjoying this series very much. I look forward to Anrel's further adventures in Quand and to seeing this young man without magic develop his own sorcerous abilities, which surely must follow.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Fantasy books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews