The Sorcerers’ Plague
David B. Coe
Tor (496 pages, $7.99, February 2009 (originally December 2007))
Reviewed by Bill Ward
The Sorcerer’s Plague from David B. Coe is the first book in a planned trilogy entitled The Blood of the Southlands, which takes place in a different section of a world already established in Coe’s previous series, The Winds of the Forelands. While some characters and basic information is carried over from Coe’s previous series, familiarity with these elements is not necessary to the enjoyment of The Sorcerer’s Plague.
The Southlands are divided along racial and clan lines, and much of the back-story of this book goes into describing the various divisions and antagonisms between its competing peoples. No love is lost between the Qirsi, white-haired and pale-eyed sorcerers, and the Eandi, dark-haired people incapable of magic. Between these two racial groups are the Mettai and the Y’Qatt, people that inhabit the Companion Lakes Region in which most of the book’s action takes place. These two groups blur the distinction between the races as the Y’Qatt are Qirsi who refuse, for religious reasons, to use any magic, and the Mettai are Eandi who are actually powerful magicians — only the Mettai use earth and blood magic rather than the Qirsi’s channeling of their life essence for purposes of sorcery. The competing abilities and philosophies of these groups are fertile ground for the plot.