Deep Magic, January 2006

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"The Triumph of Reason" by R. W. Day 
"Flinteye and the Crystal Spear" by Sean T. M. Stiennon
"Earth to Sky" by Margo Lerwill 

"The Triumph of Reason", by R. W. Day, is a compelling and heart-wrenching story of faith, fey, and sacrifice.  Although the mechanics of the story are sometimes awkward, and the overabundance of similar-sounding names and titles is confusing in more than one place, the story still manages to sparkle. 
Set in England in the time of the death of King Edward VI (the lesser-known son of King Henry VIII),  this story chronicles a hint of the political and religious intrigue going on.  Brother Kempe, a monk-turned-scrivener, has been assigned to take down some important letters—letters which tell a tale of betrayal, deceit, and murder.  He must try to warn the Princess Mary, but in order to do so, he will need all the help the fey people can give, and not a little courage of his own. 
This is a beautiful story of faith, loyalty, and most of all, of hope.  

In "Flinteye and the Crystal Spear", by Sean T. M. Stiennon, mercenary Flinteye and two of his friends, Chass and Axten, have been hired to protect Amoshi’s Spear, the symbol of power and control on the planet Yaos.   But the planet is swollen with greed, betrayal, and intrigue, and as it spirals down towards internal conflict and all-out civil war, the task may not be as easy as they anticipate. 
At first glance, "Flinteye and the Crystal Spear" is nothing more than an action-packed account of three mercenaries doing their job, but on a closer look, this rollicking space yarn turns out to have many of the same elements that are making the Flinteye stories so popular; courage and honor and friendship.  It’s a winning combination—and best of all, the author knows how to combine it with just-plain-good storytelling.  
The land lies under a drought in Margo Lerwill‘s "Earth to Sky"; the last of the sacred groves has been destroyed in the war, and all across the land, the cities are burning.  Now an envoy from tiny nearby Manu has arrived, bringing hope for the country—but can it be enough? 
"Earth to Sky" is a powerful story of the difference that a single, seemingly insignificant, person can make in the fate of a nation.  And, to my great delight, the author managed to make that point without falling back on my pet peeve; the untrained boy suddenly becoming a great warrior, or the untrained girl suddenly gaining powerful magical abilities.  This beautiful story is well worth the read.