Jude Fisher,
Fool's Gold #3:
The Rose of the World

(DAW, 2005)

In its ancient past, the world of Elda was governed by three deities -- Woman, Man and Beast -- and all its people were one. But an arrogant mage imprisoned the Man and stole the Woman and Beast, wrapping them in enchantments so deeply that they no longer knew who they were. The people then split into three factions: Wanderers, Eyrans and Istrians. The Wanderers alone kept their faith in the Three; the Eyrans turned to Sur, while the Istrians worshipped Falla and her cat. Holy wars inevitably followed, with the Istrians pushing the Eyrans farther and farther into the inhospitable north.

In the final book of the Fool's Gold trilogy, Eyra and Istria are again at war, this time over the pale, enigmatic Rosa Eldi, now the Queen of Eyra. Lord Tycho Issian of Istria has instigated this holy war to take her back from Eyra and make her his own. The Rosa Eldi, however, has other ideas as she slowly remembers who and what she used to be and begins to exercise her powers.

In other parts of Elda, other powers are on the move. In the mountain of fire, the imprisoned god stirs. The Beast is abroad. Desperate to keep the Three apart and win back the Rosa Eldi -- and especially her magic -- for himself, the mage Rahe sends assassins after the Man and Beast.

In the previous two books of the trilogy, Katla Aransen, Saro Vingo and the albino Virelai were the main characters, but in this book, the story shifts mainly to the Rosa Eldi herself. While Katla, Saro and Virelai still get their share of story time, most of the action centers around the woman whom they all now know to be a goddess.

The story moves quickly, shifting to each of the various storylines laid out in the previous two volumes of the trilogy, moving each character step by step to the final confrontation. Fisher weaves all her disparate storylines together expertly, bringing about an extremely satisfying conclusion to the Fool's Gold trilogy.

by Laurie Thayer
1 April 2006

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