Monday, 12 December 2016

The Eternal Ice

Writer - Jeff Grubb
Cover Artist - Gary Ruddell
Released May 2000

It is 2500 years after the last novel, and Jodah is summoned by the necromancer Lim-Dûl. Dûl tells him he's been dead for ages, but that he created this summoning since he has need of the best and brightest sages, as well as the skill at organizing wizards Jodah picked up while he headed the City of Shadows. You see, Dûl has been tasked by his planeswalker master Leshrac to research the rogue plane of Shandalar, and he has another research project on the side: he wants to know how to kill a planeswalker.

Before long though, Jodah is saved by Jaya Ballard. Turns out Jodah never died, having become immortal after that weird dip in that fountain last novel. He's still ruling over the City of Shadows, now called the School of the Unseen, as the Archmage Eternal. His second in command Gerda Äagesdotter got ambitious and sold him out to Lim-Dûl, who kept him amnesiac with Fyndhorn Pollen. Jaya calls in a favor from the planeswalker Freyalise, who apparently knew Jodah in the past, to cure him of the pollen's addictive effect, but then Freyalise reveals Jodah is going insane anyway: to deal with the pressure of being immortal he has been doing a ritual every few generations, in which he uses his magic mirror to remove the emotions from his memories. Gerda jumped him while doing that ritual, so now all his emotions of the past 2500 years are catching up with him. Freyalise might be able to give some hints on how to have him survive, but in exchange Jaya and Jodah now owe her a favor.

Jaya steals the mirror back, which Gerda had send to her cousin Gustha Ebbasdotter, the Kjeldoran Royal Mage, while leaving Jodah in the care of Balduvian shamans working for Lovisa Coldeyes. Furthering the web of favors, Coldeyes wants Jodah's help taking down Lim-Dûl, who has been raiding her people to add zombies to his army. From his time with him Jodah learned that Dûl's ultimate goal is Kjeldor, so he and Jaya head off to form an alliance against the necromancer between the Balduvians and their ancestral enemies. This is tricky at first, until they help stop an attempted coup by a "Kjeldor for the Kjeldorans"-type group called the Knights of Stromgald, which includes Jaya's friend Belenda Danisdotter. Unfortunately this coup involved a number of high ranking generals, but it does convince the young king Darien that Jodah's proposed alliance is the way forward, as the Knights of Stromgald turn out to be backed by Lim-Dûl. Even Gustha becomes an ally.

For months the war against Lim-Dûl drags on as a war of attrition. The side with the zombies will of course win such a war eventually, so a decisive battle must be waged. The Kjeldorans and Balduvians move their army to the mountain passes that give access to the Kjeldoran heartland and meet the undead host in what would become known as the last battle of the Ice Age. In an effort to chop the head of the zombie army Jodah engages Lim-Dûl in magical battle. Dûl reveals that he is actually something of a gestalt personality, partially the former Kjeldoran warrior Lim-Dûl, and partly Mairsil, the baddy from The Gathering Dark! He died there, but his spirit was tied to his ring, which Dûl found. Jodha manages to prevent Dûl-Mairsil from spellcasting, so the necromancer invokes his other benefactor: Leshrac. But the planeswalker is unhappy with his minion. Partially because he researched ways to kill Leshrac himself, partially because he squandered the undead army against Kjeldor when Leshrac wanted to use it on Shandalar. Leshrac tears the hand with Mairsil's ring on it off, turns the rest of Dûl into a (still living!) ball of pulsating flesh, and leaves for the rogue plane.

Throughout all of this Freyalise has been popping up now and then. First to ransack the School of the Unseen's library (Jodah thought dealing with a planeswalker was nice punishment for Gerda), and again just before the battle to demand Jodah's magical mirror. Now, in the wake of the battle, she returns with one last demand. Utilizing, among other things, Jodah's mirror, she is going to cast the World Spell to end the Ice Age. This spell will be just as destructive as the Sylex Blast that started it however. So Jodah has to sacrifice his network of Safe Havens to disperse the energy far enough to prevent massive destruction. He does so, the Ice Age ends, the Shard is connected to the wider Multiverse again, and the planeswalkers all leave. They leave behind Jodah, who is tired from having to deal with both Mairsil and two planeswalkers in one day, and Jaya, who realizes that with the 'walkers gone the wizards are going to take their place as the most powerful figures in the world. Jodah's only going to get more tired having to deal with that.

Well that's surprisingly sad. At least the comic ended with a druidic dance party!
You might not have noticed it, but Multiverse in Review is doing a bit of time traveling with this review and the next. The Gathering Dark came out in 1999, between Time Streams and Bloodlines. But this novel didn't come out until May 2000, after Nemesis! And for The Shattered Alliance we would have to wait until the Invasion cycle had already started! But splitting it all up is just annoying when it comes to dealing with the internal continuity of a trilogy, and this trilogy is closely related to the Artifact Cycle, for reasons that will become clear next review. So I'm covering all three of these books here. Just keep in mind that the things revealed in this novel and the next weren't known until quite a bit further along in the Weatherlight Saga.

The Eternal Ice is, fittingly enough, the high point of the Ice Age cycle. This is where the stakes are the highest, the humor the funniest, the action the most exciting and the continuity references the juiciest. And, as I stated last time, the continuity issues the biggest, but we'll get to that later.

Last time I made a distinction between Magic's serious novels, like The Brothers' War and Nemesis, and action stories like the Ice Age cycle. I fully stand by that distinction, yet while analyzing The Eternal Ice I was surprised by how similar Jeff Grubb's action oriented writing style is to his tragic work in The Brothers' War. The same kind of subdued, realistic characterization, the same incidental humor, the same treasure trove of worldbuilding hidden in small details and offhand references... Yet here Grubb dials back the drama to make room for more action and humor, and suddenly we have a completely different book, despite the similarities.

Jodah never summons this thing. And he should still get his own card!
Here character drama might not plunge an entire continent into war, but it still does wonders informing us on the characters and making them feel real. Jodah's slight detachement from humanity due to his immortality (compared to the planeswalkers' complete detachement) and Jaya having to deal with that forms a running thread through the book that never truly gets resolved, but that perfectly sets the scene for their relationship and interactions. Even with more minor characters Grubb quickly manages to show them as fully realized, engaging people. Think of the ambitions of Gerda and Gustha, the nationalism of Avram Garrison and the divided loyalty of Varchild.

Reading this book in between parts of the Weatherlight saga, it really strikes me how well the humor here works, whereas the attempts at comedy in Time Streams or Mercadian Masques felt really out of place. I think it is because Grubb isn't writing comedy bits; there is no bumbling goblin or other comedic relief, there is just Jodah and Jaya. They are characters to take seriously, both in the sense that they are capable of handling themselves in their adventure, as in them clearly having their own serious hopes, fears and histories. They just happen to be delightfully snarky, capable of making light of dark situations. Outside of the bit with the owl (you'll know it when you read it) it is hard to point to a single purely comedic scene in the novel, the lightness of tone is just sprinkled throughout. This compares favorably with, for example, Time Streams, where there are some really jarring shifts from Phyrexian body horror and suicide pacts among survivors of the Tolarian explosion to silly goblin antics. It would've been easy to write Jaya Ballard, who by this time had been famous for her flavor text quotes for years, as just a silly, boisterous comedy character, but Grubb decides to give her a fully fleshed out character, turning her from a joke into one of my favorite characters in the canon.

Funnily enough, that's a bit like Jaeuhl Carthalion from the comics. A jokester, but not just a joke.
Then there is the worldbuilding. Like in The Gathering Dark we've got Arkol, the Argivian scholar, opening each chapter with a bit of talk about history, but throughout the text itself there is plenty of this as well. Tales about the founding of Kjeldor, the imprisonment of Marit Lage 500 years ago, the rebellion of Zur the Enchanter last generation, the list goes on and on. Sometimes these tidbits become relevant to the story, like the rumors of Jodah having been involved in Freyalise's ascension, but at other times they are just there to give some texture to the world. Which works wonders. There are fantasy stories where every myth mentioned turns out to be relevant to the plot, and I find that is usually to their detriment. It makes the world feel artificial, without a real past, thus breaking the immersion. This works much better. The only downside to it is that it makes you want to read more stories in this setting, about that Zuran rebellion for example, or about Marit Lage, while those stories have of course never been written.

If I did have to pick one thing I didn't like about this book is that in order to make it feel more connected to the rest of the cycle, a bunch of things get piled up on the story that existed before that make it feel a bit cluttered. So now Lim-Dûl is still a necromancer who got his powers from Leshrac... but he is also Mairsil? Or at least a gestalt of the two? Did he also get powers from Mairsil's ring? I dunno. Never clearly stated. And the World Spell now involves not just Kaysa and the Icy Cauldron, it's also related to the arrival of Shandalar and involves Jodah's mirror somehow? Okay then. Keeps Freyalise busy I guess. But that's really reaching for things to complain about. You don't even realize how much stuff goes into the World Spell if you're not also reading the comics, and Dûl... well, his appearances in the Ice Age comic were a bit of a let down. He doesn't start doing cool things until he arrives on Shandalar. This book gives him an upgrade, making him a credible threat from the get go. Which could also be done without involving Mairsil, but that addition is necessary for setting up the next novel, so I can forgive that as well.

Also, kudo's for giving him a better dress sense!
  • The novel has a somewhat tongue-in-cheek introduction, which warns people not to mix of Kjeldor (the nation), Kjeld (a city in Kjeldor), Krov (the capital city of Kjeldor) and Keld (another country which has nothing to do with any of this). Here we also get a list of King Dariens. Aprently the king Darien here will become known as Darien the Good, his grandson as Darien the Bald, and his great-grandson Darien the Foolish.
  • In the prologue of The Brothers' War it is said Urza and Mishra were seen as potential saviors during the Ice Age. Here we hear a legend saying that they caused the Ice Age by stealing the warmth of the sun to power their machines, until the planeswalkers punished them with imprisonment in Phyrexia. I'm not counting that as a continuity error though. There could easily be multiple legends about them.
  • There are a lot of references in this novel to Mad Zur (that is Zur the Enchanter to you all). In his quest for immortality he lead a revolt against the magical establishment, including Jodah, about a generation before the events of this book. Eventually he mysteriously disappeared, leaving everyone to wonder whether he succeeded or not. Followers of his teachings kept hanging around for years afterward. Well, eventually he got a card in Coldsnap... he wasn't involved in that story, but that does suggest he was still alive at that point.
  • We learn Jodah eventually married Sima, from The Gathering Dark. Later in his immortal life he married other. His last wife was Aliana, who created the Adarkar Sentinels. The pain of her death made him do his ritual, at which point Gerda jumped him. The Adarkar Sentinels are one of the ways the School of the Unseen remains, well, unseen. Another is a giant glacier wall that Jodah created through the west of Terisiare.
  • The Keeper of Tresserhorn, a non-Legendary creature, is called Chaeska here, and is clearly a unique character.
  • Chapter 2 is called "Summoning Sickness", which is actually a plot point, since Lim-Dûl claims that Jodah is under that effect, while in reality it is the Fyndhorn Pollen that is messing with him.
  • At one point Jodah and Lim-Dûl each summon chair and then discuss why Jodah's is just a simple chair, whereas Dûl's is a throne of bones. Apparently Jodah dreamed up a theory that maybe there is a realm of objects, where there is an "ultimate chair" whose chairness is emulated when summoning. So, yeah... Jodah is Plato! I've never been a huge fan of Plato, but if magical summoning really did exist I would find the theory of forms a lot more plausible.
  • By the way, why is it always chairs with philosophers?
  • They also talk about summoning legends. "Some individuals are so powerful in life that they continue after death. Not as ghosts, mind you, but as stories". It's as good an explanation for why I can control Alesha and Zurgo at the same time.
  • The World Spell involves quite a lot of stuff this time around. In the comic it was just "Cast 4 Wild Growths on a forest, cast Paralyze on a Ley Druid, make a lot of mana, cast the spell", with the Ice Cauldron and Kristina and Taysir only playing back-up. Here the Ice Cauldron is used, as is Jodah's mirror, though the reason for either doesn't really get explained. The approach of Shandalar, which previously was just a place for Faralyn, Tevesh Szat and Leshrac to escape to, is now also crucial to the spell. Apparently the periods between Shandalar's visits to the shard is lengthening, making this probably the last time the World Spell could have been cast. Oh, and Kaysa is also present, so presumably she's still involved as well.
  • Jaya Ballard is described as such: "wide, expressive green eyes, a shard jaw with pursed, nervous lips, and freckles", with dark eyebrows and reddish brown hair. Here's what she looks like on the cover:
  • She'll actually look rather different on the next cover, and different still on her card. Oh, and in the unpublished Alliances comic the character was going to be male! Jaya went through quite a lot of changes! 
  • Also in that cover you can see Gustha's pet owl, who very enthusiastically goes "Meep!" when helping find artifacts from among her storeroom. It is in only one scene, but it is totally adorable and very much deserves to be on the cover.
  • Jaya calls Lim-Dûl "Dim-Bulb", which is a very strange curse to use in a pre-Industrial society...
  • When Jodah and Jaya meet with king Darien, Gustha has Jaya thrown in jail for her earlier theft of the mirror. While there, she is kept in manacles that prevent spellcasting, which show the double sunburst of the Church of Tal. Perhaps that's why we never hear from Watersilver again: the secret of making it has been forgotten when the church fell, and only what survived of those days can still be used.
  • Speaking of that, in this book it is said multiple times that the Church of Tal is long gone. Its holy scripture must make a comeback at one point though, as in Weatherlight it shows up in the flavor text of Southern Paladin.

  • Oriel Kjeldos, from the comic, is brought up and named as the founder of Kjeldor. The city of Kjeld is of course also named after her. Legend has it that she tamed first the first Aesthir.
  • Continuing the list from last time: The Sages of Lat-Nam became the City of Shadows, and has now turned into the School of the Unseen. The Gixian monastary became the Conclave of Mages and is now Lim-Dûl's keep of Tresserhorn. Argive became Giva Province, which is now split up between Kjeldor and Balduvia.
  • The whole Lat-Nam/City of Shadows/School of the Unseen connection is of course a ret-con that creates a rather tricky continuity tangle, but I'm saving that for its own article after I've covered Shattered Alliances.
  • Arkol, the snarky scholar whose writings preface each chapter, list a number of 'walkers a one point: Tevesh Szat, Freyalise, Leshrac... and Marit Lage! Though in the story proper Jodah says his research can't determine whether that last one is a planeswalker or "merely some avatar of power."
  • Freyalise is described as wearing clothes not seen for hundreds of years. Which makes sense, considering her outfit here matches the one she wears in the comic, and there she wore the same stuff in all issues, even though the first happens 500 years before the rest!
  • We don't learn much about Freyalise's origins, but it is said that she came from one of Kjeldor's predecessor states (which is an apt description of Storgard.) Apparently she went a bit nuts after ascending, and Jodah helped her keep sane. It's kind of his shtick by now, as he did a similar thing to Lord Ith last novel. (Completely out there theory: was Ith going to be a planeswalker, taking Freyalise's role in this novel in an earlier version of the story?)
  • Arcum Dagson pops up for a cameo, showing off his weather prediction machine, which predicts eternal winter. No explanation for the worsening climate is given, but of course in the comics Tevesh Szat is casting a spell responsible for this with the aid of the Priests of Yawgmoth. Invasion, released only 5 months after The Eternal Ice, would go on to directly reference Szat's plot, proving it is still canonical.
  • During the ceremony of the World Spell, Jaya spots Kolbjorn among those present. Next to him stands "a thin wisp of a girl", who is of course Kaysa. There is no mention of her being integral to the casting of the spell, but there is no mention of her not being integral either. So it could fit with the comic version quite easily.
  • After the World Spell we get a quick tour of exploding Safe Havens throughout Terisiare. One of the stops is Yavimaya, where it is said "something ancient strirred in the heart of the woods, answering the call of the troubled plane". This is presumably a reference to the mysterious "malign intelligence" mentioned in The Story of the Battlemage Ravidel, that was also supposed to show up in the unpublished Alliances comic.
  • During the months of attrition warfare, it is said that the town of Mikkel was attack, and only saved due to its priests and some wandering druids. This is not quite 100% what happened in Feast of Kjeld, as the priest was pretty useless in the battle and there was just one druid present (Kolbjorn), but close enough. And most marvelously: it fits perfectly! It's maybe a bit odd that the knights in that story don't know that Avram Garrison and his Knights of Stromgald have turned to Lim-Dûl and have been zombified, when the coup happened months ago, but they were stationed in the mountains, so news could just simple not have reached them. It also means that Kaysa has only been Kolbjorn and Disa's adopted daughter for a few months tops when Freyalise comes to collect her for the World Spell, but again, that is entirely possible.
  • Speaking of Feast of Kjeld: Klazina Jansdottir, one of the knights from that story, makes a cameo appearance during the final battle against Dûl. Apparently she got promoted during the campaign, as she is the commander of Order of the Sacred Torch now. A quick promotion is entirely plausible, as the former commander of the Order, a guy named Klausson, turns up among Dûl undead.
  • Freyalise has no scars while casting the Worldspell, while the comic shows her keeping the scars Tevesh Szat inflicted upon her until the spell was done. I like to think she kept them as a penance, but when she saw Jodah she thought "I'm not going to show myself like this to that annoying meddler!" She probably did still show herself, scars and all, to the druids present at the casting.

And then there is Lim-Dûl...

I wrote an entire article about this already, but the gist of it is this: Lim-Dûl's appearances here don't even resemble what happens to him in the comic. At the beginning there are scenes directly replacing comic scenes, like his transformation into a big horned guy by Leshrac and him summoning his undead hordes, but after that... comic-Dûl gets into a fight with some random Kjeldoran knights, is then frozen in a block of ice, gets released during the battle between Freyalise and Tevesh Szat, is present during the battle between Jauehl and Tevesh Szat, and then pops off to Shandalar alongside that planeswalker. Here he just sticks around, raising his army, waging his war. Then during the final battle, just prior to the World Spell, Leshrac (who in the comic has already left for Shandalar at that point) appears, mutilates and tortures him, and then takes him along.

Last time I talked about this I suggested that if you really wanted to, you could maybe get away with Lim-Dûl creating some sort of simulacrum of himself, like how we will see next novel with the Lord of Tresserhorn, and that it is this stand-in that gets defeated, frozen and then hangs out with Szat. But let's be honest, that is really grasping at straws. And while it would help keep all of the Ice Age comic in continuity, it still doesn't work for the beginning of Shandalar, in which it is Szat who brings Lim-Dûl along to that plane, while Leshrac has been hanging around for a few weeks already.

Yet we don't want to throw all of the comic out of continuity either. As stated above, there are references to Oriel Kjeldos and Freyalise's ascension, from issue 1 and there are references to Szat's plan to freeze the world from issue 4. Invasion will reference Szat's plan as well, even more directly this time, and it will reference the history between Kristina and Taysir and Taysir's death and rebirth in the Homelands story, which in turn builds upon the events surrounding Ravidel that start with the Summit of the Null Moon. Clearly all events not involving Lim-Dûl still happened pretty much as shown.

Some people would argue that this means all of the Ice Age comics, or even the Armada comics as a whole, are out of continuity, and that those reference are just easter eggs referring to stuff that did happen in continuity, but that we simply never got to see. But... is that really more satisfying? To have a bunch of characters talking cryptically about stuff we never got to see, when there is a perfectly fine version of precisely those stories in the comics, which we chucked out of continuity just because one little necromancer's story didn't match up?

In the end there is no neat solution to this issue. I'll stick with what I put on my timeline after discussing the comics the first time around: "Events similar to Ice Age #3-4 and Shandalar #1-2 take place". Maybe I'll change it to "Ice Age #3-4 (except for the Lim-Dûl parts) and events similar to Shandalar #1-2", to be a bit more precise. Issue 2 of Ice Age is completely unsalvageable though. Some scenes from it are directly replaced by scenes in The Eternal Ice, and the rest is entirely incompatible with that novel. My fanon is that there was still a fight between forces of Lim-Dûl and Zaraya, Kailo, Bolar and the other knights from that issue, during which they get a Nova Pentacle from the Balduvians. That could easily happen during the months of warfare in The Eternal Ice, and it would make their appearance in issue 4 a bit more meaningful. But that is just fanon, so it doesn't go on the timeline.

So yeah... on the one hand lot's of cool references, even some perfectly fitting continuity with Feast of Kjeld, but on the other hand the Lim-Dûl stuff and the Lat-Nam/School of the Unseen stuff are among the most massive continuity tangles in the canon. Do you see why this cycle, despite its qualities, frustrates me at times?

Placing this book on the timeline is easy: it covers the end of the Ice Age, which every iteration of the official timeline puts at 2934. There are a number of other interesting (or frustrating) timeline tidbits to be found here though.
  • As we discussed last time, this book reveals Jodah was born in 413 AR, which allows us to place The Gathering Dark on the timeline. 
  • The close continuity with Feast of Kjeld allows us to give that story a definite date as well, rather than the approximate date it had on my timeline until now.
  • Marit Lage "accumulated great power" before being entombed under the sea 500 years previously.
  • Arkol states he lives a 1000 years after the events of this novel. That puts him nicely in the "traditional present" of "about 4000 years after the Brothers' War". I don't think his little prologue warrant mention on the timeline though.

This next bit is going to require a bit more elaboration: back in Colors of Magic, there was a story called Reprisal in which a dude called Rothchild ruled over Kjeldor. This story rather annoyed me. Partially because Rothchild is a very strange name to give to a king of a viking-inspired civilization, but mostly because King Darien, the last Ice Age king of Kjeldor, was a descendant of Oriel Kjeldos, the founder of the nation. So where does this Rothchild fit in? Back then I made several suggestions: maybe he was a usurper, maybe he ruled in the name of an underage king (since he was at some point called Regent), maybe he was just a viceroy, as the story centers on Jornstad, the capital of "eastern Kjeldor" (that, by the way, is never mentioned in this novel). Now that we've covered The Eternal Ice, lets go over those suggestions once more, and see if we can give it a more concrete place on the timeline.

Well, for starters, it certainly can't have happened during or closely prior to The Eternal Ice. We know from this novel that before king Darien his mother reigned, that she died only a year before and that it was Avram Garrison who wanted the regency. In the end the young king was aided by a council though, not a regent. Furthermore, in Reprisal lord Rothchild married a Balduvian princess in an attempt to create peace between their nations, but the relationship between Balduvia and Kjeldor are far to frosty for that to have happened recently.

So Reprisal has to move into the past, but how far? I'm afraid the best I can do is suggest is a vague timespan, based on the fact that lord Rothchild mentions Lim-Dûl in one of his speeches. We don't know for certain when Dûl rose to power, but he found Mairsil's ring after defecting from Márton Stromgald's final mission. Stromgald is said to be "dead for decades" in this novel, so that was at least 20 years before the end of the Ice Age. Probably a lot longer actually, because when Jodah sees a version of Stromgald that Dûl summoned, he described his clothes as "ancient". Plus, moving it further back gives us more time for Rothchild (or his dynasty) to rise to power, attempt to broker peace with the Balduvians, fail, and be replaced by someone from the line of Oriel Kjeldos again.

Finally, there is Leshrac and Phyrexia. In the unpublished Walker of Night comic, it would have been revealed Leshrac was imprisoned in a ghostlike form in the region that would later become Estark. The published versions of these events, in The Story of the Battlemage Ravidel and the Battlemage videogame, retools things and have Leshrac imprisoned in Phyrexia. This actually gets referenced in The Eternal Ice. When Jodah is doing research into killing planeswalkers for Lim-Dûl, he reads a legends about Leshrac being imprisoned there.

While a cool thing to reference, this is a timeline nightmare. Phyrexia is outside the Shard, so this reference would put Leshrac's imprisonment before the Ice Age. But the story from the Battlemage game and its supplemental material clearly state that he is imprisoned by Taysir and Ravidel. Before the Ice Age Taysir has no reason to imprison Leshrac. Ravidel is not even born!

Further proof that Leshrac's imprisonment hasn't happened yet lies in his eyes. This book specifically mentions they are red and yellow. When he turned up in Battlemage, and when he will next turn up in Future Sight, they are described as "uniform, featureless grey", supposedly a side-effect of his imprisonment. So as far as I'm concerned the post-Ice Age imprisonment still happened.

What to make of the story Jodah finds then? Well, maybe it was just a story. There are also stories going around about the Brothers being imprisoned in Phyrexia after all. Or maybe Leshrac was imprisoned in Phyrexia twice. I personally prefer the first option, but there really is no way of knowing for sure. Either way it is a bit of a coincidence, unless Taysir's choice of prison was inspired by the legends already in existence about Leshrac. "The stories say you were imprisoned here once before, it only seems appropriate to leave you here again", that sort of stuff. I'll quickly note that in Walker of Night Leshrac's imprisonment was something of an accident, rather than a deliberate plan, but that was the unpublished script. The Story of the Battlemage Ravidel does make it sound deliberate, so Taysir basing his plan on earlier stories is very plausible. He always was a bit of a historian.

Phew! We made it through! I had to skip the School of the Unseen stuff, but I think you'll agree this review has gone on long enough. Check back next week for the wrap up of this cycle with The Shattered Alliance!


  1. Great (and extensive) review! I definitely agree that this is the highpoint of the serie, and that Grubb's writing is at its best when it comes to tone shifts between scenes.
    This might be my favorite Magic novel: even if The Brothers' War is probably a better book overall, the better balance of action and humor and my soft spot for the setting of the Ice Age makes the Eternal Ice a story i find myself going back to again and again.
    As for the continuity problem, i think you've shown that there are no perfect answer: read both the comics and the novel, and use mental gymnastic to fit all the parts as best as possible...
    I'm curious for the next review, as I remember feeling a little let down by the Shattered Alliance, even if i don't recall why exactly.
    Keep up the good work!

  2. This is my favorite Magic novel as well. I really like the characters and setting. Grubb's worldbuilding is real solid as well.

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