Mitchell Graham

HarperCollins Eos / 480 pages / 30 December 2003

ISBN: 006050675X

After the fierce battles and even more fierce inner struggles that threatened the very existence of Elgaria and its people, it would be only fair if peace and prosperity filled the country; sadly, even in fantasy, life in never fair. That’s right; Mitchell Graham is about to sweep readers up in another tightly-paced, awe-full adventure for Mathew Lewin and his band of loyal followers. Of course, magic, mystery, and romance abound, but it is going to be recognising who is actually friend and who is deadly foe that will be the true test in The Emerald Cavern.

Despite the best efforts of his enemies in The Fifth Ring, Mathew appears to have landed on his feet, in the safest place possible. Ensconced in Tenley Palace, under the fierce protection of King Gawl — a giant of a man and the ruler of Sennia — what could possibly happen to Mathew, his beloved Lara, and the others? Nothing could be as horrifying as the ghoulish Orlocks or as powerful as Karas Duren. And, Mathew has his incredible ring to fight anyone who threatens the fragile peace of the land.

But, who truly understands the “magic” of these astonishing rose-gold rings? So little is known about the makers, the civilisation that collapsed and vanished long before this new, agrarian society began to reclaim the world. Wonders beyond comprehension may remain buried far beneath them, suffocated in the detritus of their own incomprehensible collapse. Where there is wonder though, there is horror, and no one can say with certainty which aspects the rings represent.

No one can say with certainty exactly how many of the rings survived or who now possesses them. The question hangs over every breath they draw. The answer is reaching out to touch Mathew and harm those he cares for. He must learn the identity of the other bearer and defeat them before his own world joins the ruins and the enigma of the shattered past.

The Emerald Cavern is every bit the sweeping, fantastical drama that kept readers riveted to every word in the first book of the series. Add to that a greater understanding of the complex and fallible characters dashing across its pages and another classic-in-the-making unfolds from Graham’s fertile and talented mind. His ability to unveil subtle clues about the people he has created keeps readers guessing, unsure until the very moment of revelation who stands with Mathew and his band and who is determined to see them crushed. As in reality, this knowledge comes too late at times. Friends and enemies will be damaged and lost, because, fight it as they will, this is still war.

The Emerald Cavern. Take it only as the grand and tragic adventure visible on the surface and enjoy a ripping good read. Or, look beneath the layers as the characters attempt to and see the parallels in our own world. What you see may well disturb you. It should. After all, Alor Satar, Sennia, Elgaria, and all the others perch on this ashes of our own world. Perhaps.