The Legions of Fire: The Books of the Elements, Volume One

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9780765360458: The Legions of Fire: The Books of the Elements, Volume One

In this novel of magical menace to the survival of all humanity, David Drake introduces a new fantasy world, Carce, based on Europe during the later Roman Empire.

Far in the north, a group of magicians perform a strange dance on a volcanic island intended to open a gateway for supernatural creatures that will allow them to devastate the whole Earth and destroy all life. Two young men, Corylus and Varus, and two women, Hedia and Alphena, separately pursue the answer to mysterious happenings in Carce, the center of civilization. Through magical voyages in other realities where fantastic creatures, and even gods, help or hinder them, each of them must succeed or the world will end in fire.

The Legions of Fire is the first of a fantasy quartet set in the world of the city of Carce.

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About the Author:

David Drake (born 1945) sold his first story (a fantasy) at age 20. His undergraduate majors at the University of Iowa were history (with honors) and Latin (BA, 1967). He uses his training in both subjects extensively in his fiction.

David entered Duke Law School in 1967 and graduated five years later (JD, 1972). The delay was caused by his being drafted into the US Army. He served in 1970 as an enlisted interrogator with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Blackhorse, in Viet Nam and Cambodia. He has used his legal and particularly his military experiences extensively in his fiction also.

David practiced law for eight years; drove a city bus for one year; and has been a full-time freelance writer since 1981, writing such novels as Out of the Waters and Monsters of the Earth. He reads and travels extensively.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 8 Up–Drake opens a four-book epic saga with this convoluted fantasy. Four people are in the middle of a struggle between two powers bent on either dominating or destroying the world. Varus, a poet, is the pawn of a group of ancient magicians trying to set the world aflame. His friend Corylus, the son of a soldier, and his sister, Alphena, both begin to have visions about the end of the world. Hedia, Varus's mother-in-law, is certain that her husband's new companion, a foreign magician named Nemastes, is behind all of the strange occurrences. The four characters are drawn further into the events as the world shifts around them: Corylus is advised by a Norse god, and the others must all navigate the land of dreams. All of them make small choices that change the course of events for the whole world. Unfortunately, over the course of the novel, they are merely the game pieces of the larger forces that seem to move them around. Though they are the central figures, they are thrust into events with little knowledge or motive, and seem to succeed by chance rather than intention. The plot is convoluted, and the setting, which features real-world locations and historical events, is so like ancient Rome that it is a mystery why Drake chose to rename it. Some fantasy fans may be interested in a new series with historical details and mythological figures, but The Legions of Fire is unlikely to win over a large audience.–Alana Joli Abbott, James Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford, CTα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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