________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 7. . . .October 15, 2010.


Immortal Quest: The Trouble With Mages.

Alexandra MacKenzie.
Calgary, AB: EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, 2010.
247 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-1-894063-46-3.

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.


Reviewed from Advance Review Copy.




“Fine,” Marlen said a bit too loudly. Nerves made him bolder. “I'll make all the noise I like, then.” He attacked the crates, dumped their contents out, and tossed rocks with abandon. Adrenaline and the cold air gave him energy he rarely had at two in the morning. Dust got up his nose, his eyes watered, and an annoying itch took up residence in the back of his throat. His jeans acquired half a dozen snags, his shirt changed from white to gray, and his brown leather jacket was soon smeared with rat droppings. He found lumpy rocks, three enormous spiders, and a tin of petrified biscuits. The search proved fruitless, but at least it warmed him up.

He returned to the shelves. It wasn't until after he scoured the last one and decided to call it quits, that he heard the heavy tread of footsteps above his head. “Now the bastard decides to wake up,” he murmured. Marlen dashed for the window and scrambled onto a rickety pile of crates. He grasped the ledge, got a good grip and heaved himself out.

Breathing a little easier, he clapped his hands together, turned around, and walked straight into the arms of a waiting constable.

Immortal Quest, a fantasy, is a stand-alone tale set in modern England. The two main characters are Nick Watson, a Detective Sergeant with the local police force, and Marlen, who claims to be a 500-year-old immortal mage. Nick is due for a transfer to a special department, D16, run by his uncle. D16 is also called PIS, which is short for Paranormal Investigation Service. In Nick's capacity with the police, he meets Marlen during an interrogation after the latter is arrested for breaking into the Gem and Mineral Museum. Marlen claims to be Nick's best friend. Marlen's explanation is that Nick is reincarnated after each death but doesn't always remember his previous life. Marlen, on the other hand, can't die a normal death; he is immortal.

     Marlen is a discredited member of the Immortal Society of Mages. He is on a search for three magical objects of power in order to stop the release of a very powerful mage, the Lady Vere, who has been imprisoned for centuries by the Society's Inner Council, and who now may already be free. She may be a serious danger to all of humanity. Marlen, through his knowledge of Nick's personal details, convinces Nick to join him in this quest. The Council, distrusting Marlen, dispatches other mages to stop him as they wish to seize the power objects for safekeeping by the Council.

     The quest takes the pair all across the British countryside in search for these objects, all the while trying to avoid the others on the same search. Plots within plots have everyone with competing motives as various interests, open and hidden, complicate matters, not the least of which being Marlen's claim that he and Nick were former lovers.

     Immortal Quest will appeal to the fantasy reader who enjoys magic and tangled plots. Well-written, the novel manages to wrap up the story without leaving readers a lot of loose ends and wondering about sequels; a possibility, but not a necessity, in order to enjoy the present work.


Ronald Hore, involved with writer's groups for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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