Mar 19
2012

Library Journal “highly recommends” new fantasy from Elizabeth Bear

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

After the death of Mongke Khagan, the heirs to the Khaganate of the steppes went to war. Defeated by his cousin, the rightful heir Temur flees, joining a caravan of refugees headed toward mountains known as the Range of Ghosts. Adopted into the Tsareg tribe, Temur plans revenge while avoiding sorcerous attempts on his own life. When his path crosses that of the wizard Samarkar, a former princess who seeks her independence, Temur realizes that they can help each other-and perhaps save the world from dark forces that could tear it apart. Bear, winner of the 2005 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, a 2006 Locus Award for Hammered, and two Hugo Awards for short fiction, creates a vivid, multicultural world reminiscent of Eurasia during the 12th and 13th centuries, after the death of Genghis Khan dissolved an empire that included the Mongols, Tatars, and Chinese. Her characters possess depth of feeling as well as political acumen, bringing a personal element to a broad-scale epic fantasy.

VERDICT Fans of George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series should welcome this gracefully told tale of war, political intrigue, and personal drama. Highly recommended. –Library Journal

Mar 5
2012

PW reviews debut of new Elizabeth Bear series

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

Bear (Ad Eternum) launches a trilogy in a fantastic new world with this compelling tale. Temur, nephew to the now-dead khan of khans, is a survivor on the losing side of a war between his relatives for the rule of the empire. Fleeing with other refugees, Temur becomes involved with a young woman named Edene, and when she is taken by blood ghosts, he swears he will stop at nothing to get her back. With the help of Samarkar, newly made wizard and Once-Princess of the land of Rasa, and Hrahima, a tiger-woman at odds with her god, Temur has a chance to win his revenge against those who took Edene and murdered an entire city, and perhaps even restore balance to the empire. Bear creates a vivid world where wizards must sacrifice their ability to procreate in order to control magic and the sky changes to reflect the gods of the land’s rulers. The strong setting and engaging characters will have readers eager for the second installment. –Publishers Weekly

Jan 16
2012

Starred Review from Kirkus for start of new Elizabeth Bear trilogy

Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear

Beginning of a new historical-fantasy trilogy, set in the same Mongol Khanate-style universe as the short novel Bone and Jewel Creatures (2010). Along the Celadon Highway, the empire of the Great Khagan is embroiled in civil war. A grandson, Temur, supported his defeated elder brother in terrible battles against his usurping uncle Qori Buqa. In the country of the Eternal Sky, a moon sails in the heavens for each of Mongke Khagan’s sons and grandsons. Once there were over a hundred, now less than a third remain, Temur’s Iron Moon among them. Though badly wounded, Temur survives, attaches himself to one of the wandering clans of the steppes and takes Edene as his woman. Meanwhile Qori Buqa allies himself with al-Sepehr, an ambitious renegade blood-sorcerer cultist of the Uthman Caliphate. Al-Sepehr raises an army of ghosts to kill Temur, but fails; instead the sorcerer snatches Edene and brings her to his stronghold of Al-Din. Meanwhile, Samarkar, a wizard of Tsarepheth in the Rasan Empire, where another, less bloody, power struggle is going on, learns of sorcerous doings in the city Qeshqer and travels to investigate. Here she meets Temur, who’s searching for Edene. They will be joined by Hrahima, a huge human-tiger Cho-tse, who has traveled from Ctesifon with more bad news. The Khagan Empire is Temur’s to claim-if he can survive the plots of Qori Buqa.

This lean, sinewy, visceral narrative, set forth in extraordinarily vivid prose full of telling detail, conveys a remarkable sense of time and place, where the characters belong to the landscape and whose personalities derive naturally from it. Though the book is not self-contained, Bear provides this opener with enough of a resolution to satisfy while whetting the appetite for more. Gripping, perfectly balanced and highly recommended. –Kirkus, Starred Review

Jul 26
2011

PW on next Iskryne novel

The Tempering of Men by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette

Bear and Monette follow 2007’s Companion to Wolves with another tale of the frozen northern lands of Iskryne inhabited by Wolfcarls and their telepathically bonded trellwolves. When wolves mate, so do their humans–leaving thoroughly heterosexual Isolfr, the bond-mate of Queen-wolf Viradechtis, in an uncomfortable position with Skjaldwulf and Vethulf, men bonded to Viradechtis’s consorts. The Wolfcarls have at long last vanquished the trolls who plagued Iskryne, but without a common enemy, their tenuous alliance with the mysterious Svartalfar has become even more fragile, while the nearby Rhean Empire turns its ambitions northwards. Vethulf and Skjaldwulf must forge a new path for their people and a new understanding in their relationship if either of them is to survive. This well-wrought tale serves as an exciting adventure as well as a thought-provoking and often disturbing deconstruction of companion animal fantasies. — Publishers Weekly

Jul 14
2011

RT reviews new Bear/Monette fantasy

The Tempering of Men by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette

Every bit as absorbing as the first volume, The Tempering of Men is compelling and intensely readable. Told from multiple perspectives, the characters are well-drawn and distinct, especially Brokkolfr and Amma, his amusingly maternal wolf-sister. Monette and Bear each excel at creating unique worlds when writing solo fiction, so it’s no surprise that this joint effort combines their strengths into something extraordinary. –RT Book Review, 4 ½ Stars, Top Pick!

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