"Four Exceptional Tales!"

Our first story in this anthology is WHERE LIES BEAUTY by Sheri L. McGathy. Tanner, our heroine in this story, has always hated settlements. Too many people, too many unpleasant odors and just too much. As a Seeker, Tanner prefers her own company and that of her brother, Conn. She still can't understand why their proposed client insisted on meeting her personally and in this of all possible places. When Conn finally points him out, the only person Tanner sees is a little man, terribly disfigured. When the client makes her an offer she can't refuse, Tanner reluctantly agrees to take him into the Hag, the magical forest Tanner does not want to enter, to find the lost city of Sha-da-nay.

The next morning, their client is late. Then he shows up with his little slave way overburdened with packs. On their journey to the Hag, Tanner befriends Manny, the little slave. Manny has the ability to see beauty wherever he happens to find himself and is taken by surprise when Tanner names him friend. Also on their journey, Tanner has a strange dream. She sees an elf, a very handsome elf at that, and he leaves her with a rose petal and a phrase "The truth, Seeker, for a single tear". Well, Tanner never cries and doesn't plan on changing this.

Will Tanner find the lost city of Sha-da-nay? What of the dangers the intrepid travelers face? Exactly what does their client hope to find in the lost city? Will Tanner shed the tear?

WHERE LIES BEAUTY is a wonderfully written fantasy. I love Sheri L. McGathy's work and this story doesn't disappoint. Of course, there is a lesson to be learned here as well. The settings are all beautiful, the wording is music to the ear and the characters are all believable and remain true to their personalities, right down to Tanner's questioning everything.

The next story is MOURN A MOONREFT SKY by Shannah Biondine. This is actually a change of pace for Shannah Biondine and takes us back to Dredonia, the land we were first introduced to in SHADOW IN STARLIGHT. When our story begins, Zavend of the Clan Preece and High Sheriff Iskadorich are seeking Praxis, the renowned griffon Rider. Imagine their surprise when they discover Praxis is first of all female and secondly, the female is a Badger. Badgers can't even see in daylight! How will she be able to help them find the one responsible for the murder of the mage Thrixsall and stealing the Umbra Amulet? She agrees to help them when they raise her fee high enough. The price agreed upon being a Wyvern, broken and bonded to her alone.

With the Amulet being stolen, the sky will remain half dark. It is imperative the Amulet be found. This was all during the high festivals, when the mages perform magic for the populace. Once Iskadorich escorts them to where the foul deed took place, he leaves them to pursue other duties. The more Zavend and Praxis investigate, the more they realize things are not what they seem, right down to each other. They end up with more questions than answers.

Will Zavend and Praxis ever find the Umbra Amulet? Will they ever find out who murdered Thrixsall? What of the budding attraction between the two of them?

MOURN A MOONREFT SKY is a story full of things that aren't what they seem. Shannah Biondine has done a wonderful job of bringing this story to life and putting us right in the middle of the events as they occur. We are kept wondering right until the end, when the truth is finally revealed, and not just about the Amulet, but about each other as well.

The next story we come across is THE WELL OF FOREVER by Jeanine Berry. In this story, we travel to a land filled with magic. And our heroine, Caireya, has more than her share. When her parents died leaving Caireya and her sister, Eronne, orphans, they were sold into slavery to Lord Demor. Eronne has become a healer and is a favorite of their master's. However, Caireya's special talent lies in scrying, which is what she's doing right now. Their master brought them to the hidden city of Maricor, which Caireya managed to find. Now the man wants her to find the wand of Lohar, which almost destroyed the world when Lohar disappeared and another tried to take it.

Imagine their surprise when they stumble across a simulacrum of Lohar! Finally, Lord Demor and Eronne leave Caireya alone to question the simulacrum on the whereabouts of the missing wand.

Will Caireya find the wand of Lohar? Will she give it to her master if she does? What of the attention Caireya notices Lord Demor giving Eronne? Will she manage to keep Eronne safe and out of Lord Demor's bed?

THE WELL OF FOREVER is a highly intriguing story about magic and just how much damage it can do in the wrong hands. Caireya has always looked up to Lohar and wondered about his disappearance. I really loved how the city of Maricor was destroyed and totally buried in sand after Lohar's wand was broken in two. I also enjoyed the way Caireya was forced to deal with her conscience in this story. As a slave, she was bound to follow her master's orders. As a human being, could she really give this powerful relic into the hands of her master? Jeanine Berry handled this situation remarkably well.

Our last story in this anthology is THE TREASURE OF ARVALIS by Jeanne Allen. Our story takes place in the land of Ignatia. The people of this land honor the Goddess Solone and Eirena is now the head priestess in the temple. Lately, the people of Ignatia have been ignoring their Goddess and Eirena has been in despair because of this. She has received no visions lately and is worried about their future. When the Sighaer attack, the people of Ignatia are not prepared. They never had to worry about attacks before. Now since they have forsaken their Goddess, they are vulnerable to attack and the Sighaer take full advantage of this fact. Their leader claims Eirena as his own when he finds her attempting to defend the temple.

Valgard was brought to this land by a vision. The vision told of great riches to be found here in the temple. When the riches aren't found, Valgard is extremely disappointed. His nephew wants to burn everything and is too ready to kill for Valgard's taste.

Will Valgard ever find his treasure? What of the attraction between Eirena and Valgard? Will Valgard's nephew prove too bloodthirsty?

THE TREASURE OF ARVALIS is a very realistic look at the life of the Vikings and how they pillaged. Jeanne Allen has done a wonderful job of bringing them to life in this story. We have the peaceful people of Ignatia forsaking their Goddess and paying the price for doing so. We have the warrior race taking over their land and making slaves of them all. We also have Valgard's growing respect for Eirena, especially after she saves his life.

TWILIGHT CROSSINGS II is a wonderful anthology. Once again, these stories all have one theme in common: a major, life- altering decision to be made. We also have the theme of things not being what they appear on the surface, from the misshapen little man in WHERE LIES BEAUTY, to the treasure in THE TREASURE OF ARVALIS. These are four exceptional stories I recommend everyone reading!

Posted August 9, 2004

Reviewed by Chere Gruver
Posted January 17, 2007


Together again...

Award-winning fantasy authors Jeanine Berry, Sheri L. McGathy, Shannah Biondine, and Jeanne Allen reunite to bring you TWILIGHT CROSSINGS II, another extraordinary anthology born within the enchanted realms of twilight.

When Tanner is hired to find the mythical city of Sha-da-nay, little does she know that what she seeks is far different than what she?ll find. For buried in the darkest depths of the Hagath Forest is a truth that can set her free, if only she is willing to truly see WHERE LIES BEAUTY.

The fate of all the Known Realms hangs in the balance when a great mage is assassinated and his Umbra Amulet stolen, leaving a world frozen in perpetual twilight. Zavend Preece has one clue?a firedrake scale found at the murder scene. Can he and the enigmatic Capt. Praxis track the killers and retrieve the enchanted amulet, or will they be forced evermore to MOURN A MOONREFT SKY?

In THE WELL OF FOREVER, enter an ancient world where desert winds part the sands to uncover a mesmerizing tale of magic and romance. In the wrong hands the wand of the legendary sorcerer Lohar could devastate the world, as it almost did once before. Caireya plans to destroy the wand before that can happen, but her plan may cost her life.

Cultures clash when Arvalian warriors invade the peaceful isle of Ignatia for its legendary treasures. In THE TREASURE OF ARVALIS, which will prevail, a determined warrior, a priestess striving for peace, or will a war among the gods force them toward a common destiny?

Buy From Publisher


Twilight Crossings II
by Jeanne Allen, Jeanine Berry, Shannah Biondine, Sheri L. McGathy

Double Dragon
September 1, 2004
ISBN #1554041465
EAN #9781554041466
288 pages
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Other Books by
Jeanne Allen

Twilight Crossings
Twilight Crossings

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