LEGACY OF WOLVES (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, August 16, 2007
One of three titles (soon to be four) set in the new Eberron: The Inquisitives series, Marsheila Rockwell’s Legacy of Wolves makes a splash in Forgotten Realm’s freshest universe. A juicy tale of conspiracy, werewolves, and good ole-fashioned murder mystery, Legacy stands tall on its own two feet and proves Marcy’s ability to hold her own in one of Wizard’s largest shared-world fiction universes.
Having spoken with Marcy earlier in the month, I was eager to dig into her first published novel with Wizards of the Coast and I must say, with her extensive background in writing genre poems and short stories, she does not disappoint in this first outing.
Legacy centers on the dilapidated city of Aruldusk, and more specifically on the string of grisly murders that have wracked its inhabitants in the past few months. Zoden, a bard slash actor who’s more accustomed to hitting the sauce than the stage, has petitioned the Queen for help after his twin brother was brutally mauled in an Arulduskan alley. While Zoden’s brother was ripped apart by some sort of beast, he finds it strange that the Church of the Silver Flame is so eager to pin the crimes on shifters with very inconclusive evidence.
Irulan Silverclaw, descendant of the shifter hero Bennin Silverclaw, is also petitioning the law of the land on behalf of her brother Javi, but in this case to save his life than to avenge his memory. Javi has been arrested in Aruldusk for the murder of Zoden’s brother and it’s up to Irulan to investigate the non sequiters of his imprisonment. Though the Church doesn’t look kindly upon Irulan and her shifter brethren, a chance encounter with the young child prodigy Jaela Daran, the Church’s Keeper of the Flame, allows her to continue her quest with the outcast paladin Andri Aeyliros.
Zoden, on the other hand, gets paired up with the dwarf inquisitor Greddark d’Kundarak at the Queen’s discretion. Together they meet up with Andri and Irulan in Aruldusk and find themselves not only pitted against a broad murder conspiracy but also against a covert power struggle between the Church and the Throne.
While solving the mystery of Aruldusk’s untouchable killer is fascinating and plot-propelling, where the book really shines is its expose of character background. Marcy finds time to make Irulan, Zoden, Greddark, and Andri three-dimensional and lifelike without overtly cramming in detail and history. Some of Eberron’s past trials and tribulations, specifically involving the shifter wars and those who fought in them, are seamlessly presented to offer a more well-rounded view of the events and personas contained in the story.
The result is a well-crafted story that, for all of its depth, feels like a miniscule slice out of a world that has a lot more is going on in it. Legacy of Wolves stands head and shoulders above the other installments in the Inquisitives series and makes you hope Wizards gives Marcy a bigger bite of Eberron to chew on in her next novels.
Mania Grade: B+
Author: Marsheila Rockwell
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast