Rhenna and her comrades must face unpredictable perils in their quest to find the Hammer of Earth, a weapon that will do grievous harm to the evil Stone God. Joining together with the Imaziren, a tribe composed entirely of women, they must prove themselves to be enemies of the Stone God.

Meanwhile, their ally, Quintus, is being held captive by his half-brother and is trying to learn enough about the velvet cage in which he's being kept to assist in the resistance movement against the Stone God.

An ambitious attempt at epic fantasy set in the ancient world -- specifically North Africa -- Krinard's novel has a plot and characters that don't stand up to the complexity of the world that she's built. The second volume in the series, it doesn't have enough exposition, and while it's often effective to start a story in the midst of the action, it isn't particularly successful here. But Krinard is an evocative and atmospheric writer, and even though the action is sometimes confusing, the language is lovely. (Feb., 512 pp., $13.95)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs