The Folded World

Night Shade. (A Dirge for Prester John, Vol. 2). 2011. 300p. ISBN 9781597802031. pap. $14.99. FANTASY
In waging war against Salah ad-Din's armies of Islam, the Patriarch of Constantinople seeks help from the legendary Christian king Prester John. Answering his call, John's "army" of exotic creatures and bizarre species discover they are caught in a war they barely understand in a world that's very different from their peaceful, magical home. This brilliantly evocative sequel to The Habitation of the Blessed continues the story of Hagia, Prester John's wife, and Alaric of Rouen, pilgrim and messenger, as told through the pages of magical books plucked from a book-bearing tree.
VERDICT Valente (Palimpsest; The Labyrinth) skillfully captures the style of medieval literature without resorting to archaic vocabulary. Blending the genres of fable, parable, and allegory, the result is an imaginative literary work that should please lovers of elegant prose and consummate storytelling.
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