Gr 6-10-Jiaan, Kavi, and Soraya-the three young Farsalans attempting to wrest their fallen nation from the conquering Hrum-are back in this final installment of Bell's trilogy. Invoking the name of the legendary Sorahb, they lead the tiny, ill-trained army, organize the peasants, and practice magic as taught by the mysterious, desert-living Suud. The sword that they forge represents both their discovery of the secrets of Hrum steel as well as their ability to create a new, unified Farsala. The young people work according to their particular talents, learning to cooperate and to forgive past transgressions. Primarily, they learn that the world is not a place of black and white, but gray-enemies can be noble and supposed friends can deceive. How one proceeds in the face of that knowledge is the main thrust of this novel. Readers who enjoyed the earlier adventures will be happy to see this epic to its conclusion, but the book does not stand on its own. No attempt is made to recap any previous information. The seamless interweaving of the ancient heroic poem of Sorahb into the downfall of Farsala gave the first novel depth, and its loss is heavy in books two and three. Purchase where the earlier titles have a following.-Sharon Grover, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, WI Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
"Issues of war, society, and class are nuanced and authentic in this impressive climax." -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review