TRIO OF SORCERY
Two of the three novellas in this volume are sure to please veteran Lackey fans as they revisit old heroines Diana Tregarde and Jennifer Talldeer in “Arcanum 101” and “Drums,” respectively. The third story, “Ghost in the Machine,” introduces a new heroine who is just as capable and down to earth as the other two. All three tales once again demonstrate that Lackey is a master storyteller, no matter the story’s length — or lack thereof. A keeper.
Diana has just started attending Harvard when she’s asked by a fellow Guardian to help the police with a kidnapping case. Fortunately, help comes in the form of other residents of her apartment building who are interested in magic. Before long, the young students find they’ve all signed up for “Arcanum 101.”
“Drums” may be part of Jennifer’s Native culture, but they’re nothing but trouble for her new client’s ex-girlfriend, Caroline. Caroline has inadvertently called an angry, vindictive ghost to her land, and Jennifer, David and Jennifer’s grandfather will need all the help they can get to disperse it.
When a programmed villain in an online sword and sorcery game gains strength and intelligence with every avatar it defeats, the game’s developers call in Ellen McBridge, a techno-shaman, to help them regain control of their game. Unfortunately, the villain — a wendigo — has other plans, and is very close to being able to leave the game world and enter our own in “Ghost in the Machine.” (TOR, Oct., 352 pp., $24.99)