The Reign of the Brown Magician

by Lawrence Watt-Evans

Published by DelRey (US)
U.S. 5.99
342 Pages
ISBN 0-345-37247-6

This novel concludes the Three Worlds Trilogy. The main idea for this series is that there are three parallel universes, one Normal, one Sci-Fi, the other fantasy. A group of ordinary people from the Normal Earth travel between the worlds after being drawn into a war against the evil Shadow from the fantasy world. In this novel Shadow has been overcome by the travellers and one of them has replaced it to rule the fantasy world. Pel Brown comes to be called the Brown Magician, but as the ultimate power in the fantasy world he does not find happiness.

Lawrence does his normal good job of holding the readers attention, but this is not his best work. Once he goes through the Three Worlds explaining them all it seems to struggle along with plots caused by simple misunderstandings.The worlds sometimes seem shallow when the plot zips backwards and forwards between the three worlds. It is the best volume in the series and concludes the plot satisfactorily.

I hope this is the last we see of the Three Worlds and Lawrence goes back to Ethshar for his next novel. The three worlds idea works most of the time but is sometimes questionable considering how typecast the other worlds are. Mixing the sci-fi and fantasy genre rarely works and this does not work as well as Lawrence's previous attempts at this type of novel. It is only Lawrence's good storytelling skills that make this series successful and worth reading.

P.F. 2nd November 1996

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Farris Systems 1996