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Two and one half moon gifDAW Books (Paperback), ISBN 0-88677-913-8
Serial Novels, like serial killers, can be a bit enigmatic. Sometimes to truly understand them you have to follow the series from the very beginning. Radford's fourth chronicle of Coronnan, The Wizard's Treasure, features many bits of history that derive from earlier Coronnan books. Unfortunately, you need these bits to fully appreciate the characters and plot of The Wizard's Treasure.

Book: Irene Radford, The Wizard's TreasureThree major plot lines thread through The Wizard's Treasure. The main plot derives from the entrapment of two magicians, Marcus and Robb, by an ancient curse associated with a hoard of gold. Hence the title. Turned into ghosts, beings caught between this plane of existence and the next, Marcus and Robb can only be seen and aided by Vareena, the wise woman of the local village.

Marcus' long-time girlfriend Margit sets out to find and rescue him, not knowing that Marcus now loves Vareena. In addition, Margit fails to recognize that Robb loves her.

Meanwhile, Jack, a scoundrel of a magician hired by the king to remove the curse plaguing the queen, also suffers from the love-bug's bite. Devising a method to save the queen puts a severe crimp in Jack's attempts to woo his fiancée Katrina into marriage.

Book: Irene Radford, Renegade DragonAmid this romantic furor, the magicians must constantly dodge the vicious and illegal lynching mobs of the witchfinders and attempt to end the war between SeLenicca and Coronnan.

The Wizard's Treasure at first distracts with some confusing plot work but eventually this adds to the interest. But this reader would prefer more oomph to the character's relationships. For all the high romancing going on between the protagonists, there doesn't seem to be any real sense of passion or genuine attraction. This distancing from the emotional/physical correlation adds an unreal aspect to the novel and deters from its believability a little.

While not an outstanding book, The Wizard's Treasure provides a mostly comfortable read that helps to fill several idle hours. Readers of earlier Coronnan books need only beware of the sometimes rude interruptions provided by clumsy changes in points of view. The rest of us would do well to read those books first in order to catch the subtler aspects of the plot.

Stephen John Smith

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