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Beyond Wizardwall (Thieves World) by Janet…
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Beyond Wizardwall (Thieves World) (original 1986; edition 1987)

by Janet Morris

Series: Thieves' World Novels (3), Thieves' World (Novels - Beyond 3)

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230391,694 (3.9)None
JANET MORRIS' BEYOND WIZARDWALL - the northern adventures of Tempus and his Stepsons come to their apocalyptic conclusion at the Festival of Man, where the games are not the scheduled ones of prowess in swordplay or chariot-racing, but games of assassination and treachery, with the Rankan emperor's life and the honor of the Sacred Band at stake. When Niko quits the Stepsons, he finds that his troubles are just beginning: not only has Death's Queen marshaled new forces to entrap him, but Rankan interests desirous of a change in emperors have singled him out as the perfect assassin. Randal, the Stepsons' pet mage and Niko's former partner, must unite Tempus, the Stepsons, and hellish aid from magical quarters in a desperate attempt to save the defenseless Niko from Death's Queen - and himself. In imperial Ranke, Tempus finds himself torn between conflicting oaths and pitted against powers not even his supernal strength can vanquish - powers both mortal and immortal, magical and heavenly, so that, in the end, the god-ridden and accursed soldier must make pacts with his most hated enemies - not only Askelon, the Lord of Dreams, but Death's Queen herself - in order to save the souls of those he loves and the empire he's served so long. And this time, Tempus' own soul hangs in the balance, as primal forces and even Enlil, the most fearsome storm god of them all, haggle over his fate.… (more)
Member:shsilver
Title:Beyond Wizardwall (Thieves World)
Authors:Janet Morris
Info:Ace (1987), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library
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Beyond Wizardwall by Janet Morris (1986)

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A fun and satisfying conclusion to a trilogy, these are the continuing adventures of Tempus (a character from the Thieves' World anthologies) with his current military unit, the Stepsons including Niko & Randal, Straton & Critias as they battle Roxane, evil Nisibisi Death's Queen and most powerful witch.
This book advances characters, especially Niko, but also Randal and Tempus, in a believable way, whilst being an exciting story in itself (although it would not be good if read out of sequence).
Having finished the trilogy (and having previously read Thieves' World short stories), I appreciate the care taken in providing a cast of characters and perspectives (sometimes contradictory) that are believable within their admittedly fantasy frame of reference. The gods and magic completely distort their world compared to ours, but as most of the story's characters are not priests or magicians/witches, their contempt/frustration for gods and magic echoed what would be my own frustration for the "deus ex machina" events, and make it acceptable.

I read "the author's cut" in 2013 which ends with openings for new stories, and this may be different from the original 1986 version. ( )
  CarltonC | Mar 3, 2016 |
Tempus and his Sacred Band return from war to face new challenges, not the least of which is the challenge to overcome self-doubts as to their course of action. Each character must find a way to change from within in order to fulfill a higher calling. Yet this is a confusing world, and not only because of struggles and wars. It exhibits conflicting ideals, such as remaining true to your oath and quitting so as not to disappoint other fighters. Faced with the silence of the gods, who would not answer pleas and prayers, answers must come by searching within, to find an overriding, guiding principle.

I love it when the opening of a book offers a glimpse of the histories of its heroes, which remain obscure beyond its scope, yet provides substance and fulness to the characters. In the first few lines Niko, crushed by guilt for his past and present actions, kneels by his suffering mare, who is trying to deliver her unborn foal. “He wanted to press his face to hers and beg her forgiveness. But he dared not: if he began weeping, he’d never stop.” He starts out helpless to help her, helpless to help himself. “None of the Riddler’s other fighters had Niko’s problems: he was the only member of Tempus’ Sacred Band of Stepsons who had a wizard for a partner, a witch for an enemy, and a dream lord after his very soul.”

Even his comrades have turned against him. “We can’t keep pretending we don’t see, and let him go on on his way. He makes the whole unit look bad… Either shape him up or shed him.” His tribulations will become a test, a way for Niko to find his balance again, prove himself to his commander Tempus. But right now, overwhelmed by his mystery, all he can do is pray to a god that does not care to answer. “Enlil, Storm God of the Armies, please save my horse.”

Beyond being lyrical, the writing in this book is exceptionally strong. For each character, it draws sharp contrasts between conflicting goals. For a while Niko considers the notion of asking his partner, Randal, to save his horse through magic—only to reject it. “She’s better off dying a natural death than living on, beholden to wizardry.” Out of desparation, “I’m an outcast. So let’s end this farce: I quit,” he tells his commander. Being a wise leader, Tempus gives the wizard, Randal, his calling: “You can keep Niko safe while this fever in him burns out.”

And just as Niko comes to new point, “He found his balance, poised there between life and eternity,” his immortal commander steps in to guide him in a different direction. And as for Tempus, will he accept his lot to live on through wars, amidst chaos? Faced with a god that is never sated with spilling blood, will Tempus find a measure of peace with himself?

Five stars. ( )
  Uvi_Poznansky | Aug 1, 2014 |
The conclusion to the saga begun in Beyond Sanctuary, and continued in Beyond the Veil, with Tempus and the Stepsons and the archmage Roxanne.. I still love these books. ( )
  Lyndatrue | Dec 24, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Janet Morrisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Beekman, DougCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ruddell, GaryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Thieves' World (Novels - Beyond 3)
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The young officer's face with shiny with sweat, his eyes closed, his back against the stallboards.
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JANET MORRIS' BEYOND WIZARDWALL - the northern adventures of Tempus and his Stepsons come to their apocalyptic conclusion at the Festival of Man, where the games are not the scheduled ones of prowess in swordplay or chariot-racing, but games of assassination and treachery, with the Rankan emperor's life and the honor of the Sacred Band at stake. When Niko quits the Stepsons, he finds that his troubles are just beginning: not only has Death's Queen marshaled new forces to entrap him, but Rankan interests desirous of a change in emperors have singled him out as the perfect assassin. Randal, the Stepsons' pet mage and Niko's former partner, must unite Tempus, the Stepsons, and hellish aid from magical quarters in a desperate attempt to save the defenseless Niko from Death's Queen - and himself. In imperial Ranke, Tempus finds himself torn between conflicting oaths and pitted against powers not even his supernal strength can vanquish - powers both mortal and immortal, magical and heavenly, so that, in the end, the god-ridden and accursed soldier must make pacts with his most hated enemies - not only Askelon, the Lord of Dreams, but Death's Queen herself - in order to save the souls of those he loves and the empire he's served so long. And this time, Tempus' own soul hangs in the balance, as primal forces and even Enlil, the most fearsome storm god of them all, haggle over his fate.

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