Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Scarlet Tides Scarlet Tides
by David Hair
Jo Fletcher Books

Supplied for review by Jo Fletcher Books

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Scarlet Tides is the second instalment in the Moontide Quartet and continues the tales of Alaron, Ramita, Elena and Cera. As is to be expected the story strands start to get closer entwined as the characters move closer together.

Alaron is on the trail of his friend and erstwhile love Cymbellea, who has made off with an important artefact. In steadily hotter pursuit is a group of inquisitors, powerful magi in their own right, intent on regaining the artefact and asking, with extreme prejudice, Alaron some very pointed questions. Ramita has made joint company with her daughter-in-law Justina and is trying to escape the attentions of the forces intent on using her to their own ends. Meanwhile, Justina must train her in magic craft as Ramita’s pregnancy is inducing sorcerous ability. Elena has escaped Gurvon Gyle’s cluches, leaving Cera to face the music when another plot of Gurvon’s unfolds around her.

Mr Hair enlivens the story by bringing other viewpoint characters most notably Ramon, a school friend of Alaron, and now posted to the logistics and support company of a Rondian legion and learning war-craft in Antiopia. Also, the author is not shy of killing off his characters with more than one personality who starts this book failing to survive to the final page.

Each character has grown and moved on from book one as they each have to deal with the troubles, big and small, that life throws their way. As to be expected, each character is facing a new crisis to be resolved in book three (if they didn’t would you want to read book three?) and none of them are safe – even the villains are imperilled. No one has the upper hand and any advantage in their struggles feels decidedly temporary.

This is a very worthy sequel to book one in the quartet and I look forward most keenly to book three where I am certain further mayhem will ensue (goody).

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