Read again? Yes.
Number 19, with 7 left. Second in the "Mage Winds" Elspeth trilogy.
We begin with Elspeth and Skif being adopted into the Tayledras Clan they've been helping. Everyone's happy--they all think (wishfully) that the evil mage who's been harrassing the Clan for a decade and more is dead. We learn that the Tayledras--the "Brothers of the Hawk"--were set by their Goddess to cleanse the lands of twisted magic and creatures, to make it safe for regular people to move in and live their lives.
We follow Nyara, the cat-like woman, daughter of the evil Mornelithe Falconsbane (Mornelithe: hatred-that-returns). She has found a hiding place where the talking magic sword Need can train her without disturbance.
Skif goes off with Darkwind's brother Wintermoon (yeah, all of the Tayledras have names like that) to find Nyara, for he's in moon-eyed love with her.
Elspeth and Darkwind begin training in magic.
Falconsbane isn't dead. He's resting, and brooding upon revenge. We learn that he's the latest incarnation of the evil Ma'ar, the Mage of Black Fire, supposedly destroyed in the Cataclysm. Ma'ar had an escape plan: he hid his spirit away, waiting for a suitable descendant to try simple magic that would trigger Ma'ar's return. He would possess the body, destroy its owner's spirit, and continue with his evil plans (Total World Domination, and all that). One of his incarnations was Leareth--whom Herald Vanyel fought to the death in the "Last Herald Mage" trilogy.
A better book than the one before; the pacing is a bit tighter and there aren't as many continuity problems in the story as there were in the first one. Plenty of fussy little Lackeyisms, but I should be used to those by now.
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