Lyndon Hardy's The Archimage's Fourth Daughter was published in December 2017.
Information about Lyndon Hardy:
Lyndon Hardy (1941- ) Author, prankster, grandfather.
He became interested in fantasy while wandering through the fringes of fandom when he was at Caltech. In addition to reading and writing, he has sporadic bursts of enthusiasm for collecting stamps and playing cards. As of yet, he has not figured out a plot line for a stamp collector who saves the world.
He published three fantasy novels for Ballantine/Del Rey in the 1980’s. They are now available again.
While at CalTech, in 1961 he organized and led what has been called the best college prank ever pulled - The Rose Bowl Card Stunt Caper.
He lives with his wife, Joan, in Torrance, California. Together they have two daughters and four living grandchildren.
Lyndon Hardy was born in Los Angeles, and except for a few years spent in Texas while growing up, has lived in California all his life. He received a BS in Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1962 and a PhD in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1966. For 30 years he worked at TRW helping to build ground station software for satellites. After retiring from aerospace, he cofounded a software consulting firm, Alodar Systems, specializing in business processes, ERP solutions, and application integration. In 2016, he retired the company and began a new full time career of writing. Time will tell if he still has any gas left in the tank.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about The Archimage's Fourth Daughter:
Alodar placed his hands on Briana’s shoulders, paused for a moment more, and then said softly, “The answer is no.”
“You can’t do that!” Briana yelled back. “Even the Archimage has limits to his power. You admitted as much yourself. You cannot order me around like some serf of an Arcadian lord.”
“I do not order you to stay because I am the Archimage,” Alodar said. “I do so because I am your father.”
Briana felt the anger well within her like a brush fire suddenly out of control. She clinched her teeth so as not to say more. The library page had a key to this council chamber, she thought fiercely. It might take more than a single kiss to get it, but that is what she would have to do.
Fourth book in the Magic by the Numbers series. A stand alone novel that does not require any of the preceding volumes need to read first.
REVIEW OF THE ARCHIMAGE'S FOURTH DAUGHTER BY LYNDON HARDY
Lyndon Hardy's The Archimage's Fourth Daughter is the fourth novel in the Magic by Numbers series. The previous novels are Master of Five Magics, Secret of Sixth Magic and Riddle of the Seven Realms. This novel is an interesting and entertaining approach to the portal fantasy genre, because it's something different and captivating.
As many readers are aware of, portal fantasy novels normally tell of humans who travel to other worlds through portals. This novel is a delightfully different kind of a portal fantasy novel, because it tells of a person from another world who comes to our world and faces problems due to knowing nothing about our way of life.
Before I begin to analyse and review the contents of this novel, I'll mention that I haven't read any of the previous novels yet, so this is my first contact with the author's fiction. If I'm not mistaken, this novel has more characterisation and less worldbuilding than the previous novels. I gather that when the first three novels were published, they were different from other fantasy novels due to the laws of magic that prevented the characters from using magic to save the day. In this novel, the author also writes about the laws of magic, but now he focuses more on writing about the characters and their lives.
I think it's good to mention that this novel can be read as a standalone novel. You don't need to know anything about the previous novels in order to enjoy it, because it's different from them and has a new protagonist.
What makes The Archimage's Fourth Daughter fascinating is that, in many ways, it's a charmingly old-fashioned fantasy novel and has a familiar feel to it, but is distinctly modern with an urban edge. The author writes surprisingly well about our culture and way of life. His descriptions about such things as sex and wealth are quite thought-provoking yet entertaining.
The Archimage's Fourth Daughter tells of Briana, who is the Archimage Alodar's daughter. This novel is her coming of age story, but it's also a tale about her brave and great adventure in another world.
At the beginning of the story, Briana thinks that she has been stupid, because she has gotten betrothed to Slammert. She has found out disturbing facts about her fiancé and is not happy about her situation... Briana attends a high council meeting, during which an alien visitor from another world makes the council members an offer they can't refuse in the name of progress and gives them an opportunity to travel through a magic portal to another world. In exchange, they have to keep an eye on the exiles who have been banished to a hellish world... Briana wants to be the person who goes through the portal to the other world where the exiles are. When she is forbidden by her father to do so, she decides to take matters into her own hands and secretly uses the portal. Soon she finds herself on modern-day Earth and notices that things are quite different there than back at home... Meanwhile, the banished exiles are making their own plans to escape their predicament...
This is all I'll write about the story, because I don't want to reveal any spoilers. I'll only mention that the story is good and there are a few surprises in store for readers.
Briana is an interesting protagonist. The author fluently tells of her feelings and describes how resourceful and clever she is. She is a determined and talented young woman who doesn't give up easily. She does her best to find out where the exiles are and whether they're using magic or not. She also wants to avoid getting married to Slammert. Her transformation from a disoriented and naive adventurer to a heroine is fascinating to behold.
It was fascinating to read about how Briana acquainted herself with Earth's culture, because many things felt strange to her. When Briana spent time on Earth, she found out that life was not easy and one had to find work, use computers and know many things. Her efforts to understand the local culture were fascinating and made for an enjoyable - and occasionally amusing - read, because she didn't understand how things worked and how people did things. The author examined Briana's reactions in a realistic way, because he told of how our way of life feels like for a person who knows absolutely nothing about what happens in our world.
What happens between Briana and Jake is entertaining, because Briana uses and manipulates Jake to get what she wants. While Jake does what Brianna wants him to do and helps her, he thinks that there might be something in it for him, becase he is sexually interested in Brianna.
It was also interesting to read about what kind of a relationship Jake had with his father. Their relationship was not warm, but distant. I'm not going to reveal any details, but I can mention that what Jake does behind his father's back is intriguing. I also enjoyed reading about Ashley and what she did, because the author writes well about her life and work.
The author writes fluently about the alien exiles who have been banished to Earth and tells of their doings. They're worried about the Faithful noticing if they use magic and try to live unnoticeable lives while planning their escape. Because they have rings of eternal youth, they're immortal and can outlive humans.
One of the best things about this novel is that the author has created laws for magic. This is great, because there still is a surprising amount of authors who have not created any kind of laws for magic and its use, but treat magic as an almost limitless source of power that allows characters to save themselves when they're in danger. Because I have a background in IT engineering and IT research, I value laws of magic very much and respect authors who have limited the use of magic by creating distinct laws that add realism to their stories.
I have to mention that I was impressed by the balance between magic and science, because it's one of the things that makes this novel good. I was also taken by the amount of humour, because the story has quite a lot of it and there are a couple of quirky scenes which are wonderfully amusing.
The glossary at the end of this novel is useful and informative to readers, because it can be used to check names, terms and concepts mentioned in the story. The glossary has a few links to websites on which readers will be able to find more information about certain things.
Although I enjoyed this novel and found it captivating, there were a few minor flaws in it. It would've been nice if the exiles were a bit more fleshed out, because that would've added more depth to the story. Another thing which bothered me was that there were a couple of scenes in which a slower pacing might have worked in favour of the story, because it would've made the scenes more believable.
I give this novel strong four stars on the scale from one to five stars, because it's an entertaining and fast-paced fantasy novel. I liked it a lot and was captivated by the story. I found the author's writing style satisfyingly swift and found myself having a good time when I began to read the story. After I finished reading the story, I said to myself that I definitely have to read the previous novels, because I want to find out what happens in them.
My final words are:
Lyndon Hardy's The Archimage's Fourth Daughter is intriguing fantasy entertainment for readers who are looking for something entertaining to read. It's an enjoyable portal fantasy novel that will please readers who enjoy good and compelling stories.