Saturday, May 10, 2008

Knights of the Silver Dragon: Book 8- The Silver Spell by Anjali Bannerjee

Zendric is teaching Kellach more spells when Driskoll comes tearing into the Mage's tower, telling his brother that he has seen their mother, Jourdain, dancing and singing in the marketplace, and that Moyra has seen her, too! But he lost her in the crowd, and Moyra swears that the woman had brown hair.

When they go back, the woman is long gone, but Locky, Kellach's clockwork dragon familliar, brings them a note from their mother, telling them to come to the Skinned Cat in the worst part of Curston to see her. Moyra agrees to come along, just to keep them safe, and from any folly.

When they get to the tavern, they don't see any woman resembling Jourdain, but they do find Moyra's mother Royma and her father. Royma is dancing and singing, and the men around her can't look away. The three Knights search the tavern, but leave when a fight breaks out over Royma's affections. However, as they slip away, they see a woman in a blue cloak that matches the one Jordain had promised to wear, walking away from the inn. The boys and Moyra chase her on a summoned horse and finally catch up to her, where she tells them she is very glad to see them and hugs them close.

They take her home, waking their father, who forgets all about punishing his sons when he catches sight of his missing-no-more wife. The next day, he takes the day off to go shopping with her, revelling in having his Jourdain home once more. Kellach notices that Jourdain seems to be scared of showing her face, asking them to put away the silver mirror that stands in the hall and wearing her cloak mostly over her face. She says she doesn't want to see how much older she's become since she was away.

When Kellach, Driskoll and Torin ask her where she has been, she tells them that in the battle, she was attacked by a succubus named Nahemah, and in defeating her, was hit on the head. She passed out and when she woke, she no longer remembered anything. She wandered into the woods, and was found by a tribe of secluded elves, who helped her. She only started regaining her memory recently, but she knew she had to return to Curston.

Kellach and Moyra notice that much of the town seems to be under a spell, men and women shuffling about almost like zombies, or not going about any business at all. As time passes the problem grows worse, and soon Driskoll, too, is falling victim to it. Adding to that is Moyra's mother, who claims never to have been in the Skinned Cat at all, and Kellach and Moyra are convinced that Nahemah has returned to town to finish the job she started on Jourdain. But can they retrieve the amber amulet that might drive the succubus away without the help of Driskoll? And can they drive off a succubus as she seeks a spell to make herself immortal as well as magically powerful?

I read this book after the "Prophecy of Dragons" duet, so I already knew what happened in this book, but the story is well-written, letting the suspense rise slowly, then quickening to the ending as the Knights discover the truth. The story threads are interwoven well, though any adult is going to know the true source of the trouble in town, and many of the intelligent teen readers are as well. So, while it isn't wholly successful as a mystery, it still is a well-written book that could have used a few red herrings to make it more successful.

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