In this final book in the Tamir trilogy, Tamir has shown her true self, a mystical fire having burned away the male body she grew up in. Claiming the throne of the beleaguered realm of Skala, she rallies her allies and prepares for battle against the usurper, her cousin Korin.

While preparations are being made, Tamir -- formerly known as Tobin -- has to come to terms with her transformation and the evil at the heart of what was done to her. She also needs to work out her confused relationship with her faithful squire and companion, Ki.

There are no easy answers in this splendidly stirring coming-of-age tale. Tamir has been deeply damaged in the service of her country by those who should have shielded her from harm. Her journey is not easy -- she's still haunted by the demon spirit of her murdered brother. At the end, though, things come together and, while Tamir may not live happily ever after, she does live. (Jul., 576 pp., $7.50)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs