Master and Fool

by J. V. Jones

Published by Warner Books (US)
U.S. 12.99 (Trade Paperback)
532 Pages
ISBN 0-446-67096-0

This novel is the third and final volume in the series "The Book of Words", which began with "The Bakers Boy", and continued with "A Man Betrayed". The first two volumes were likable and did their job well, fleshing out the characters, plot and world, but the characters lacked maturity and depth. "Master and Fool" takes off from where they left off and then makes the whole series have meaning with a thrilling conclusion.

The novel begins after the assassination of the Duke of Bren by an agent of Kylock's chancellor Baralis. Leaving his newly wed bride Melliandra in hiding, being guarded by the former Knight and Dukes champion Tawl. The other main character Jack, the young unwilling sorcerer, has heard of his former travelling companion Melli's situation, travels to Bren to find and help her.

The story follows Morod's prophecy to it's conclusion, with Jack having to face the young evil King Kylock, and stop a dark empire from forming.

While I liked the two first volumes, I found "Master and Fool" an excellent story. The main characters become more likable as they grow up and stop acting like children. They action finally gets going, as the major characters take matters into their own hands and face their fears and enemies. I am looking forward to Julie's next novel "The Barbed Coil", due in September 1997.

A score of 9 out of 10. Brilliant.

P.F. 13th January 1997

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Paul Farris 1996