As Storm Breaking opens, the western allies, led by Karal, Karsite Sunpriest and delegate to the Valdemaran Court, and the Adepts Firesong and An'desha, have traveled deep into the Dorisha Plains to locate the ancient ruins of the Tower of Urtho, Mage of Silence, creator of the gryphons. Legend has it that below the Tower, deeply buried beneath the plains, is Urtho's Vault, hidden stronghold of some of the most powerful magical weapons ever devised - weapons that Urtho himself felt were too dangerous to use. With the help of the Shin'a'in plainsmen, they have successfully excavated this ancient arsenal, and risked their lives triggering one of these antique but potent tools of death to unleash a monstrous burst of mage-energy. With this explosion of magical power, Karal, Firesong, and their companions have temporarily counteracted the ever-increasing waves of the mage storms. But they know that this desperate action will not save them - they have bought themselves precious time, but are still far from a permanent solution. They know now that the mage storms are an "echo" through time of the prehistoric Cataclysm which destroyed Urtho's Tower, created the vast and barren Dorisha Plains, and permanently warped their world more than two thousand years ago. And they also know that if they don't find a way to banish these magical vibrations they will culminate in another Cataclysm - this time destroying their world for good. But the Vault is not the only thing buried for centuries below the Dorisha Plains, and camped in the ruins of what once was the workplace of the most ingenious mage their world has ever known, the desperate allies soon come to realize that their solution may lie beneath the dust at their feet. The saving of their world just might be accomplished by the work of a man who has been dead for millennia!
The Mage Storms trilogy, which is itself but one of several novel-clusters in Lackey's epic Heralds of Valdemar fantasy series, concludes with zest as the mysterious mage-storms--set back temporarily in Storm Rising--continue to produce monsters, disrupt magic (on which many cultures in Lackey's fantasy universe depend) and threaten to demolish all that exists. Here, the western allies, including mages and the Sun-priest Karal, look desperately among the exotic machines in the Tower of Urtho, the Mage of Silence, for a way to stop the storms; elsewhere, in Hardorn, Duke Tremane is offered the kingship, contingent upon a primitive ritual that will tie his fate to that of the land. Emperor Charliss declares Tremane a traitor and names Baron Melles his heir, allowing Melles new latitude for infamy. Many familiar characters from Lackey's previous books are here, as well as some impressive new ones, including a gryphon delegation from Iftel. Unlike most fantasy, this novel errs on the side of too little description, but, even so, Lackey's world remains rich in ideas and personalities, and the magic she imagines (unlike the political intrigue) continues to be complex and often innovative. Come the next stormy night, admirers of her brand of fantasy will enjoy curling up with this tempestuous work.