by Tim Lebbon
Cover Artist: Cliff Nielson/Shannon Associates
Review by Harriet Klausner
Spectra Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553383652
Date: 27 March, 2007 List Price $12.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Noreela remains in deep trouble as the war to end all wars seems imminent. No one can hope to survive the upcoming hostilities as the mages have raised an invincible army that makes those who fought the Cataclysmic War look like children. The reign of magic may have ended, but it appears ready to ascend once more.
Meanwhile, former farm lad Rafe Baburn may be dead and his magic dispersed but those who tried to save him continue to try to turn the tide against the overwhelming odds. Though they have little expectation of success as Rafe was the savior, Hope the witch, Alishia of the books, Kosar the thief, and Trey of the enigmatic yellow eyes know they have one prayer remaining. Alishia believes that Rafe passed her an iota of his essence and if she can make it to Kang, Kang might save a dying realm. However, her compatriots firmly believe it is too late as all but the burial of the savior has occurred. However, with no other course of action they agree to elude the Mages in order for a miracle of an unborn causing an ancient prophecy to activate that might bring back that which is dead to life. That is if they can survive from Dusk to Dawn.
Though lacking the key hero anchoring the first tale, Dawn is a terrific horror fantasy in which the world of Noreela is for practical purposes dead with the only hope a sliver from the late Rafe that may bring about a resurrection. The story line is action-packed and filled with the usual creative war gadgetry that keeps Tim Lebbon tales fresh.
However the fascination is with the good guys as the heroic quartet are the only ones who still hold out that a shard of life still remains and they, except for the optimistic Alishia, have doubts as the Mages and their allies the Angel and S'Hivez have won the day. Alishia is the most developed member of the cast though she seems less able to hold the plot together than Rafe did in the first novel (Dusk) as his saga was also a coming of age bewilderment tale that enhanced the thriller. Still she is a solid heroine who alone retains a bit of sanguinity as she can picture the corpse of Rafe taken by the Mage to give to Angel. She also 'smells' in the books that the quest needs to continue in Kang; her compatriots seem to go along with her because they have no alternative suggestion.
The villains seem underdeveloped as they sort of hide behind their dark powers that have ravaged the country partly because, except for preventing the ancient prophesy from occurring, they do not have anything left to achieve. Albeit none of them stick out amidst the crowd unlike the original Red Monk who slaughtered the villagers of Trengborne (Rafe's home) in Dusk. Still this is a superior tale that is more than a middle filler book as it can stand alone though better read after perusing the previous story.