The gritty Elemental Logic adventure series continues with EARTH LOGIC (4) by Laurie J. Marks. The land of Shaftal suffered war and subjugation and a ruler has been found with the power to heal the country and destroy the invading Sainnites. The earth witch Karis, however, has so far refused to rule. Instead, she lives quietly with her lover and the family she gathered around her in the preceding book, Fire Logic. Then a deadly plague strikes and a group of zealots appear, claiming to speak for the lost ruler. Karis must act or watch as her beloved country falls to ruin. Marks has a beautiful, flowing writing style that belies the earthy violence of her tale, and she uses it to create an intelligent fantasy with subtle messages behind the battles and derring-do. In Shaftal, men and women are undeniably equal in power and responsibility. Love is equal opportunity as well, and same-sex relationships are commonplace and unremarkable. It's a refreshing and unusual approach, one which gives this book its heart and soul, making it stand out in the ranks of fantasy adventures. (Mar., 400 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum