The Wanderers (Veiled Isles Trilogy)
by Paula Brandon
Review by Mel Jacob
Spectra Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553583830
Date: 31 July 2012 List Price $15.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Brandon brings her Veiled Isles trilogy of the House of Belandor to a close with The Wanderers. The novel follows two main threads. Jianna Belandor focuses on freeing Falste Rione accused of helping his sister Celeste kill the Taerleezi governor and sentenced to death in The Ruined City, the second book of the series. The second thread, focuses on the arcanists, those able to perform miraculous tasks with the aid of the Source, who undertake to cleanse it. If they fail all humankind may disappear and the Overmind will take over the world.
Because Rione has had success in curing victim of the plague, he is given a short reprieve to treat the deputy governor’s family, but remains under a death sentence. Determined to free him, Jianna seeks allies and resources to rescue him from the Witch, an impenetrable prison. Meanwhile, the plague continues unabated, and the Wanderers, undead victim of the plague and controlled by the Overmind, menace citizens. Also, pockets of unreality or otherworldness of the Overmind expand.
Aureste Belandor, Jianna’s father, and her uncle Innesq along with six other arcanists (magic workers able to use the power of the Source) undertake a journey to reach a point where the Source is the most accessible so they can cleanse it. Among the arcanists is Nissi, the strange, otherworldly adopted daughter of Aureste’s enemy, Yvenza. The arcanists also seek to gain the assistance of Grix Orlazzu, a hermit and powerful arcanists. Grix has no love for humans and no desire to save the world. A robot he created, GrixPerfect, provides humorous contrast as he seek Grix to force him to complete his education.
Trials and tribulations beset the arcanists and Jianna. Her husband, one of Yvenza's sons left for dead by Aureste, lives and seeks her. He has become a one-eyed, brutish monster with one goal, find Jianna and claim her.
An accomplished writer, Brandon is the pseudonym of successful fantasy author Paula Volsky. In this trilogy, she shifts from Grix to Jianna to Aureste and back with occasional diversions to others. All suffer, but refuse to surrender. Only those with strong minds and wills can survive the attacks of the Overmind and its creations.
Brandon writes well and said the story was developed as a single novel and then broken into three parts, which accounts for the abrupt endings of the first two novels. The other novels in The Veiled Isles series, The Traitor's Daughter and The Ruined City have proved popular. A thrilling climax completes the trilogy and will satisfy readers. A few threads remain that might lead to other stories, e.g., Nissi’s origin is never explained although Innesq calls her a relative. She also seems to have a talent for predicting the future.