Princess of Wands
by John Ringo
Review by Barry Newton
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 1416509232
Date: 03 January, 2006 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
"The Almadu Sanction", which is the first of three stories which compose the book, introduces the heroine, Barbara Everette. Barb is a truly remarkable woman: a devout Christian believer who doesn't proselytize, a practicing martial artist, a dead shot with pistol or rifle, and a devoted wife to her clueless husband and mother to their three typical kids. She is devoted to the point of seeing it as her Christian duty to be a good wife and mother. The karate and marksmanship were just part of her upbringing.
Needless to say, Barbara has an encounter with a nasty monster. Her notable success in this brings her to the attention of the Women of Faith Foundation, a front group for the good guys who keep track of and oppose demonic endeavor. More about them anon.
"The Necromancy Option" is a romp. Barbara visits the WoF Foundation for some quick training in demonology and other arts useful to the demon hunter. Reading about the Foundation provides the reader with a quick course in comparative religion, as many are present. Ringo is in grave danger of delivering a message with this book, but tries mightily to include enough action and violence to distract his audience.
Her first assignment brings Barbara to a science fiction convention, where the evil demon is accreting power by killing science fiction fans. Something every writer must want to do on occasion.
"Broken Sabbath", the third story in the set pits our heroine against her daughter's evil soccer coach, who has designs upon his team. The resolution here is not so much gore and violence as Deus ex Barbara.
Princess of Wands requires a suspension of disbelief which can only be described as magical, but the author has created a wonderland for his heroine to work in. And, with tips of the hat to Joss Whedon and even John Norman, she does work wonders. She'll be back.