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The Gate of Gods: Book Three of the Fall of Ile-Rien    by Martha Wells order for
Gate of Gods
by Martha Wells
Order:  USA  Can
Eos, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This third in the Fall of Ile-Rien series follows The Wizard Hunters and The Ships of Air. In the former, with Ile-Rien under attack by the sorcerous Gardier, Tremaine Valiarde and others used a magical sphere to travel to the world of the superstitious, colorful Syprians, where they met foster brothers Giliead and Ilias and fought the enemy together. In the latter, back in Ile-Rien, they filled the Queen Ravenna cruise ship with refugees, took it back to the Syprian world (where Tremaine made an expedient marriage with Ilias), and continued on with added Syprian passengers, evil captive sorceror Ixion, and Tremaine's father Nicholas, who joined them after a thrilling side trip to the Gardier homeworld.

The Gate of Gods opens with the refugees and Ravenna on Capidara. The good guys are making plans to liberate the Rienish city of Lodun, blockaded for some time by the Gardier. The Syprians and Tremaine are very upset by a plan to work with mad, manipulative Ixion, who's up to his usual tricks, despite having come back from the dead. With help from Arisilde, a powerful sorceror trapped in a crystal sphere, they build a new world-gate, through which Gerard and Ilias journey to a place of many gates. The Gardier, alerted by spies, bomb Capidara, separating the good guys.

Those on the Ravenna (including Nicholas and Florian) end up having to deal with Ixion. The others follow a trail left by Arisilde (while still in his body) through a series of world-gates. The gate travelers are repeatedly ambushed by Gardier, escaping by the skin of their teeth. En route, they encounter Gardier refugees, traders from a time before their world became militaristic, and take them through a gate back to the Syprian world, where a god proves surprisingly helpful. They rendezvous with the Ravenna once more, and make their way to Lodun. Nicholas meets old friends, Gerard is abducted, and Tremaine and friends follow him to the seat of Gardier power.

Don't try to read this one without having enjoyed its predecessors; there are just too many characters, plots and politics, to understand without the full story. As always, I enjoyed Tremaine's shoot first and ask questions later attitude, and her developing relationship with Ilias. The story concludes in a most satisfying manner, despite Tremaine's willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her people and friends. I loved this enthralling trilogy and look forward to whatever Martha Wells writes next.

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