Lackey's 1996 novel is a pleasant and unobjectionable reworking of a number of different Russian myths and folk tales. Ilya is a decent enough character, but he lacks that certain spark that would really bring him alive, and the story is interesting, if a bit slow. Still, fans of Lackey will want to add this title to their collections.
But when he sees the mythical Firebird plunder the cherries in his father's prized orchard, his luck worsens. Forced out of his home, he travels in search of adventure and finds it in the form of a beautiful woman held prisoner by an evil sorcerer. (Tor, Jan., 352 pp., $14.95)