An acorn falls far from the tree
Former Chicago lawyer Ben Holiday was very proud and quite happy. And why shouldn’t he be? The Magic Kingdom which he ruled as High Lord was finally at peace. He was free to lie back and watch as his new daughter grew.
And grow she did—by leaps and bournds, shooting through infancy in a matter of months. She took her first steps and learned to swim in the same week. An amalgam of magic and heredity, Mistaya was born a seedling, nourished by soils from Landover, Earth, and the fairy mists, come into being in the dank, misty deadness of the Deep Fell. She was as lovely as her mother, the sylph Willow, with dazzling green eyes that cut to the soul. Ben wished he could enjoy his daughter's childhood and his happy kingdom forever.
Alas, those idyllic days were not to last. For Rydall, king of lands beyond the fairy mist, rode up to the gates of Sterling Silver and shattered peace of Landover. His armies were poised on the border, ready to invade unless Ben accepted a challenge: Rydall would send seven champions to face Ben, each in a different form. If Ben triumphed over all seven, Rydall would then abandon his claims to the kingdom.
Some counseled the High Lord to refuse Rydall's challenge, but Holiday could not, for Mistaya had been snatched from her guardians by foul magic. And Rydall held the key to her fate. . . .
Picking up where The Tangle Box left off, Brooks continues his increasingly convoluted narrative, again following the trials and tribulations of former lawyer--and currently Landover's ruler--Ben Holiday. Even as Holiday battles evil forces to keep his domain secure and his loved ones safe, his daughter, Mistaya, is kidnapped by his nemesis, the disgruntled witch Nightshade. Threatened by the mysterious Rydall, King of the Marnhull, Holiday must prepare to meet seven potentially deadly challenges. Meanwhile, his faithful sidekicks, Abernathy the scribe and Questor Thews the wizard, are sent to Earth, where Abernathy renews his acquaintance with Elizabeth, now an attractive teenager. Despite entertaining passages (Mistaya's training in witchcraft) and moments of depth (Holiday's struggles with his inner demons), the novel still feels cobbled together, a kind of prelude for the romances and battles of later installments. Fortunately, the familiar characters remain as appealing as when they first appeared, despite their involvement in these transparent and hackneyed situations.