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Smashwords book reviews by R Stefoff
- The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies Online Magazine, Year One
on May 19, 2010
I read these stories as they appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and I'm delighted to have them in this collection. BCS has been a terrific addition to fantasy publishing; I look forward to more years, and more anthologies, of great reading.
- The Clavis (The Emperor's Library: Book Four)
on March 23, 2012
If you enjoyed the previous three books of Frederick Kirchhoff's series The Emperor's Library as much as I did, you'll rejoice at the appearance of a fourth. The Clavis is both a continuation of the sweeping fantasy story told in the earlier volumes and an adventurous, often witty novel that can be read on its own--the passing allusions to people and events from the earlier books may pique your curiosity, but they won't confuse you.
The Clavis takes place many years after the events of the previous books, but it is linked to them by the long-lived character Jon and his curious powers and possessions. Set in the same world as the earlier volumes of The Emperor's Library, The Clavis introduces a new setting: the sprawling coastal city Tarnak, home of industrialists, technocrats, pirates, and a humble young tea salesman named Rel, whose kindnesses to a couple of very old men bring the world to the brink of disaster.
Like its predecessors in the series, The Clavis is not your typical gay (or straight) epic fantasy. Cliches and stereotypes are nowhere to be found; villains and heroes are flawed, compelling human beings; and the adventure raises new questions even as it provides some long-awaited answers. Highly recommended.