The Mantle of Kendis-Dai

former titled "Starshield: Sentinels"

by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Published by Delrey (US) 
U.S. 6.99
351 Pages
ISBN 0-345-39761-4

This novel is set in the Starshield Universe, which manages to mix fantasy and science fiction together. This is done by dividing the space into quantum weather zones, which allow varying degrees of magic and science to operate in.

The "Mantle of Kendis-Dai" is the lost artifact of Kendis-Dai, the creator of the universe, that holds the power of absolute truth. The are three powerful groups seeking the Mantle for their own reasons.

The first group is a race if demon worshiping wanderers, called the Irindis. They have wandered the Universe for the last one hundred years, in city-sized ships, using their mystic powers to locate the key.

The second group is the Darkness, run by rebellious AI's and led by power-hungy human Sentinels.

The third group is the Omnet, a galaxy-wide information service, that uses information to control the thousands of interstellar empires that span the universe. Merinda Neskat is an agent of the Omnet that is given the task of locating the Mantle, in the Omnet's name.

Caught up in between these groups is a crew of NASA astronauts, on the first interstellar trip. After their ship is attacked, then Jeremy Griffith, the highest ranking officer left alive, is left in command of the remaining crew members. To get back to Earth they are then forced to join the search for the Mantle, in which they are foretold to be the key.

The story unfolds as a magical fantastic adventure that jumps from one life threatening confrontation to another. The action is similar to cross between the "Death Gate Cycle" and "The Star of the Guardians" series, with Weis and Hickman staying with the same style to the previous series, that they excel with.

The Starshield Universe that they have created works well most of the time, with the story not going into too much detail of how the universe operates. It is more a gaming universe (eg rpg's) than one that can be reasonably explained, but provides an amazing background in which anything is possible.

There is a sequel in progress called "The Nightsword" which is due in May 1998.

Overall this was a fantastic adventure in a universe where anything is possible. 7 out of 10.

P.F. 18th January 1998

Go Back to the authors index page   

Paul Farris 1998