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The Etched City
by K. J. Bishop Bishop

Category: Fiction / Fantasy
0 pages; ISBN: 0553382918

Rating: 10/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


The Etched City
K. J. Bishop
Bantam, Dec 2004, $14.00, 464 pp.
ISBN: 0553382918

In Copper Country healer Raule and her superior Gwynn the mercenary fought for the losers in a devastating war that has ravaged the countryside. Now the twosome flees as the Army of Heroes hunt down the enemy like chasing deer. They manage to make it to the city Ashamoil, a place where weird happenings occur.

Raule accepts work as a kind of physician at Ashamoil Hospital where the strange is everyday while Gwynn becomes bodyguard and assassin to the magnate. While she tries to save lives, he tries to take lives. However, both must come to grips with the oddities of a girl giving birth to a baby-headed crocodile, an artist turned into a sphinx, and even weirder phenomena as the line between reality and magic blurs. Whether these events prove miraculous or the end of times does not seem to matter to those trying to survive unless the miracle turns personal and keeps a healing idealist and a gun slinging pragmatist alive.

Thos entertaining very complex dark fantasy will keep readers alert with several intriguing sidebars within the prime plot that fans will wonder how the meandering sub-branches like maculate horn vines flow back to the main theme. K.J. Bishop succeeds in doing just that so fans obtain a multifaceted tale starring two fabulous opposites struggling in what seems like a world gone mad. The keys to keeping the exciting story line from being overwhelmed by the strong subplots are Raule and Gwynn, the healer and the killer, providing opposite sides of the same coin. Deep and gloomy, THE ETCHED CITY is a terrific tale of a world that feels real even with strange events that shake the heroine and antihero to the core.

Harriet Klausner


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