The Mirror of Worlds: The Second Volume of The Crown of the Isles
by David Drake
Review by Harriet Klausner
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765312600
Date: 10 July 2007 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Due to the workings of wizardry, the Change occurred which caused the people and places from the past to become part of the present. It changed the Isles into a single continent with no guides for the traveler because everything has altered. Enemies from the past and the future enter through portals into the present causing the heroes of the world to once again go into battle if they want their world to survive.
The first force that has to be dealt with is the Coerli or cat people as they are commonly called. They are looked upon as animals who hunt and eat humans. Prince Garric thinks that the Coerli can be brought into his empire by peaceful means and goes to their biggest settlement the Place seeking a treaty. His friend Ilna hates them for killing her family; she lives to kill the cat people and won't be satisfied until they are all dead or she is dead while fighting them.
The Lost has come from the future and has made a beachhead on our world intending to conquer and kill all living things. They are powerful and can't be reasoned with so they must be killed and the sole way to our world closed. The aegipan Shin, an intelligent creature who looks like a faun, says the Yellow King will help them if a champion can reach his home. Garric is chosen as the champion and accompanies Shin on a journey that sees him overcome several obstacles and turns a man eating ogre into a willing mount for him to ride. His sister Sharina leads the royal troops to Pandah, the only opening left to the Lost. They are there to find a way to hedge them in so they don't proliferate and become unstoppable. While these mortals work to stop the Lost from destroying their world, powerful wizards, one human and one Coerli, work for the same goal: to rid the world of the Lost.
The Mirror of the Worlds takes off where The Fortress of Glass ends. Both books are action packed and character driven but The Mirror of the Worlds delves deeper into the various people that make up David Drake's world. The point of view constantly changes as each of the main protagonists are always in a different places and sometimes different worlds. In most sagas, heroes have roles to play but in this wonderful and enthralling epic fantasy, all the protagonists play important parts. If one character fails in his or her quest, the world is doomed.
Sharina will prove a fan favorite because she is a woman who doesn't let her royalty stop her from doing what she must and since her beliefs are in sync with Garric, she makes an excellent leader who believes humans and Coerli can live in peace as equals. Garric is as good a protagonist as she is.
The only quibble is the Lost are one dimensional so they come across as caricatures, not fully developed characters. The audience will not have no feelings for them because we have no concept of their culture or more important what motivates them.
Magic plays a big role in the plot as symbolized by the wizards as being of two different species. They will be the catalyst to destroy the Lost or die trying and battle the rest in their own dimension if the non-magical players succeed in their roles. David Drake is a master storyteller and readers who appreciate the sagas of Glen Cook, Terry Goodkind and Gene Wolfe will thoroughly enjoy this work.