The prolific Fallon contributes a second volume to what promises to be a sold epic fantasy series. In Medalon, Tarja Tenragen and his half-sister R'shiel were forced to lead a rebellion against their power-hungry mother. But their mother's defeat came at great cost: Not only does it leave Medalon vulnerable to invasion, R'shiel is on the brink of death. Her only hope is the healing powers of the Harshini—magical beings long thought extinct.

Tarja struggled to defend Medalon's northern borders from invasion and contemplates an alliance with traditional enemies the Hythria. But can Tarja trust Damin Wolflblade, warlord and heir to the throne of Hythria? Meanwhile, the shrewish Princess Adrina of Fardohnya weds the Karien heir to please her father, but she has her own plans.

If this sounds complicated, it is. With family at the heart of the novel's conflicts, however, Fallon keeps a surprisingly firm grip on the tangled political intrigue and back-room scheming. The novel's structure is brilliant, and we get to see how characters are truly products of their environments. There's plenty of action, but it's the relationships that will keep readers enthralled.

The one drawback to this second volume of the Hythrun Chronicles is that it clearly is a middle book. With all the political shenanigans, there's not actually much in the way of forward movement and we're treading familiar ground. There's a lot of room for exploration in this fascinating world. Here's hoping the next book brings us even more. (Nov., 496 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum