Chalker's Quintara Marathon series blends space operatic adventure with crude theological and metaphysical speculation. In this third and final volume (after The Run to Chaos Keep ), the survivors of the daunting journey into the realms of the powerful, demonic Quintara arrive at last in the demons' central city. In a painfully contrived scene, they free the long-imprisoned demon lords, who now threaten to overwhelm the worlds of the three empires (the Exchange, the Mizlaplan, and the Mycohl) and enslave their 90 trillion human and non-human citizens. The remaining heroes, having mastered some of the Quintaran technology, set off to thwart the demons' plans by uniting the three empires against them. While the first two volumes kept a leisurely pace, with plenty of action but relatively little plot advancement, this book feels hurried, speeding breathlessly through the required events toward a foreseeable showdown. The characters spend an inordinate amount of time deducing necessary information and lecturing each other as Chalker drives them on toward the universe-saving climax. Though none of the Quintara Marathon books have much depth or literary significance, the first two volumes at least offered some lively escapist adventure. The third doesn't provide even that. (Oct.)
The concluding volume to the ``Quintara Marathon'' trilogy of spacefaring civilizations united in a war against demons.