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Fire Logic [Hardcover]

Laurie J. Marks
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 17 2002 Fire Logic
Earth. Air. Water. Fire.

These elements have sustained the peaceful people of Shaftal for generations, with their subtle powers of healing, truth, joy, and intuition.

But now Shaftal is dying.

The earth witch who ruled Shaftal is dead, leaving no heir. Shaftal's ruling house has been scattered and destroyed by the invading Sainnites. The Shaftali have mobilized a guerrilla army against these marauders, but every year the cost of resistance grows, leaving Shaftal's fate in the hands of three people:

Emil the Shaftali paladin: an officer and a scholar whose elemental powers make him an excellent judge of character;

Zanja the diplomat: the sole survivor of a slaughtered tribe, her fire powers bringing the gift of prescience;

Karis the metalsmith: a half-blood giant whose earth powers can heal and create, but only when she can muster the strength to hold off her addiction to a deadly drug that suspends her will.

Separately, all they can do is watch as Shaftal falls from prosperity into lawlessness and famine. If they can find a way to work together, they may just change the course of history.

In the tradition of Ursula K. Le Guin and Elizabeth Lynn, Laurie J. Marks weaves a complex tale of political and personal struggle, set in a world whose concerns are as familiar as today's headlines.

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From Amazon

In the wake of the successful movie adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, bookstores have been flooded with new high fantasy. Much of it is derivative and badly written; some is well written and singular. Among the rare and glorious successes is Laurie J. Marks's Fire Logic, an original, skillfully written, powerfully imagined novel of war and intrigue, a high fantasy that owes little to Tolkien's trilogy, though both are intelligent, adult works that may also be enjoyed by younger readers.

In the world of Fire Logic, the rare individuals born with magic talent are known as elementals, because they possess the power of fire, earth, air, or water. The fire elemental Emil is a Paladin, a Shaftali soldier-scholar who is about to embark on his most desired studies when the invading Sainnites capture the capitol and kill the wizard ruler, leaving no heir; now Emil must become a war commander in the remnants of the Shaftali army. Another fire elemental, Zanja na'Tarwein, is the Ashawala'i Speaker, but she cannot convince her own people of the full danger of the Sainnites. Karis, a half-giant blacksmith, has tremendous earth powers that might defeat the Sainnites--if she weren't addicted to a potent, deadly drug that steals her will. Her guardian, Norina the Truthken, is an air elemental able to see through any lie, yet she is blind to dangerous truths about both her half-giant charge and Paladin treachery. --Cynthia Ward

From Publishers Weekly

The use of magic to combat war has been used to drive fantasy plots since the genre began some with tepid results, and some, as in this case, with compelling effectiveness. In her first novel since Dancing Jack (1993), Marks has created a work filled with an intelligence that zings off the page. The land of Shaftal, occupied by the nasty Sainnites, has just lost its Earth witch ruler and, in doing so, has seemingly lost the magic that the witch held. What follows is bitter guerilla warfare. Into this war comes Zanja na'Tarwein, speaker for the people of the Ashawala'i, a woman who holds the power of elemental fire. What was not her war suddenly becomes personal when the Sainnites turn on her people and obliterate them in one night's battle. As sole survivor, Zanja becomes a resistance fighter, aiding the Shaftali with her premonitions (the gift of fire elementals) and her determination to survive. Zanja is not alone in her quest she becomes friends with other magicians who play vital parts in the war effort: Emil Paladin, a fire elemental; Norina Truthken, an air elemental and a reader of truth; the seer Medric, whose magic may be fire; and the mage Karis, whose very life is a puzzle. It's a neat trick to make the main character die (mostly) and then be "reborn," but it takes an author who can manipulate emotions skillfully to do it more than once. This beautifully written novel avoids the holes in logic typical of most stories of this nature and includes enough blood and adventure to satisfy the most quest-driven readers.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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In the border regions of northern Shaftal, the peaks of the mountains loom over hardscrabble farmholds. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
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3.0 out of 5 stars AN INTERESTING IF UNEXCEPTIONAL STORY April 20 2004
Format:Hardcover
Mix a little magic with a pinch of politics, add a healthy dose of invasion and guerilla warfare, flavor it with a dash of romantic involvement and you get FIRE LOGIC. The four elements, fire, water, air and earth infuse magic in certain people giving them supernatural powers in the land of Shaftal, but Shaftal has been invaded and is being occupied by a brutal oppressor. FIRE LOGIC is the first book in a series that deals with the lands wounds and the subsequent attempts to heal them.
The characters are strong and fairly well developed but to be honest not particularly diverse. Almost all the primary female characters are extremely masculine (...). Of course most of the male characters are effeminate and gay, except one who is masculine, and gay. In fact one must wonder just how there are any little Shaftaler's running around at all, the concept of heterosexual romance seems to be totally unheard of in this world. Well if you're interested in that type of romance then I suppose you will find FIRE LOGIC entertaining. For those of us who find it rather uninteresting it is merely dull.
The plot itself is decent. It's not the type that grabs you and won't let you put the book down from beginning to end, but it's good enough to keep you interested and maybe even look forward to the next volume.
Average, professionally done work. Good enough to be RECOMMENDED but don't think you'll be reading the next great American novel.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent tale March 5 2004
Format:Hardcover
Many fantasy books have good ideas but are poorly written. Others are well-written but bring nothing new to the table. THIS book has characters that are fresh and interesting, scenes that are emotionally strong without being overwrought, and the story kept me reading straight through.
What I liked best: Compelling characters that seemed real and unique to me, antagonists who had real reasons (in their own minds) for doing bad things, and several sweet twists in the plot that kept me reading.
Aspects I wish were better: Not enough description in some spots so that I didn't feel I was fully SEEING the world of the book. Also, violence that got a bit repetitive. I mean, torture loses its impact if a character gets hurt and healed repeatedly . . .
All in all, though this was a great book, and I will be reading all Ms. Marks previous books and her future ones as well. Well worth buying in hardcover, as this is one you will loan out to friends. :-) Mine is already loaned out.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fire on March 22 2003
Format:Hardcover
The land of Shaftal was ruled by an earth witch, but with his death and no apparent heir, it was an easy target for the invading Sainnites. Those remaining Shaftali paladins have grouped together as a guerrilla army to do what they can against the mighty Sainnites. Zanja is the last survivor of a peaceful tribe eradicated by the Sainnites, and her fire witch powers give her glimpses into the future. Emil is a paladin and also a fire witch, but his powers make him more of an excellent judge of character, although working in tandem with Zanja brings luck. Karis is an earth witch whose powers are stifled by her drug addiction, but she can't help but be drawn inexplicably to Zanja. The two women find events moving beyond their understanding and between them, they might just be able to save Shaftal, if they can save themselves first. Peppered with political intrigue, powerful magic, and personal struggles, "Fire Logic" wants to be a potent story, but it just doesn't make it. The first eighty or so pages flit through fifteen years of story, and this disconnected feeling never disappears. The love stories (between Zanja and Karis, between Emil and a young man who's a Sainnite) are told to us, more than shown, so we never fall in love with the characters as they fall in love with each other. The complex characters and the fascinating magic-laden world kept me reading and interested, and for that the book is recommendable, but overall it lacks.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Almost a great book July 31 2002
Format:Hardcover
The Shaftali nation has been left leaderless and is under attack by invading Sainnites. Bands of guerillas fight back, but without the magical power of their leader, the Shaftali seem helpless. And even magic seems insufficient. Certainly Zanja's fire magic is inadequate to prevent the complete destruction of her people. Rescued by a giantess, Zanja joins the guerilla movement, but even here she finds enemies and secrets.
Author Laurie J. Marks creates an intriguing world with a magic system based on cryptic glyphs and upon the elements of air, earth, fire, and water. Law has always been used to constrain and control these magics, yet the magics remain the center of the civilization--a contradiction that threatens to destroy what is left of the nation. Marks may also please or upset readers through her frank discussions of the gay and lesbian relationships between many of her characters--relationships that are perfectly understood and accepted within her fantasy world.
FIRE LOGIC is enjoyable reading, yet Marks falls short of delivering the full emotional intensity deserved by her subject matter. The physical and social suffering that Zanja survived shoud have been powerful and compelling--instead, it was matter of fact. The love between Zanja and Karis was described, but not really felt. This was almost a truly wonderful novel.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fire Logic
The G'deon who ruled Shaftal died, without an heir. Thus Shaftal had been thrown into turmoil and the Sainnites began invading. Read more
Published on Oct. 23 2003 by Detra Fitch
4.0 out of 5 stars Why aren't YOU reading Laurie J. Marks?
Laurie J. Marks is an undiscovered treasure of a writer. Her plots are some of the most original I've ever read -- see also Dancing Jack -- and her characters feel, if alien, like... Read more
Published on March 10 2003 by Tracy L. Benton
5.0 out of 5 stars Written with finesse, achieving multi-climactic satisfaction
I struggled with the first hundred or so pages of this book, adrift in the world Marks was creating and unsure how to orient myself to the characters. Read more
Published on July 31 2002 by Katya Reimann
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story
I've been trying to figure out why I liked this book so much, and concluded that it's because it's ultimately a pretty inspiring story of many different kinds of courage. Read more
Published on July 23 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Intense -- Highly recommended
Generations of people in Shaftal lived together in a balance of the elements Earth, Air, Water and Fire. Then the ruling earth witch dies without choosing a successor. Read more
Published on June 7 2002 by C. Penn
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific story!
The G'deon who ruled Shaftal died, without an heir. Thus Shaftal had been thrown into turmoil and the Sainnites began invading. Read more
Published on May 14 2002 by Huntress Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
Fire Logic is a masterful novel that works as both a riveting adventure and an in-depth look at character and the relationships between people. Read more
Published on May 3 2002 by Silver
4.0 out of 5 stars exciting fantasy
Though Harold G'deon the ruling earth witch knew he was dying, he failed to name his successor. With his death and no earth witch to replace him, the Sainnites successfully invade... Read more
Published on May 3 2002 by Harriet Klausner
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