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In Transcendence, the second book in his second DemonWars Saga, author R.A. Salvatore adds another layer to the events of book one, Ascendance, with a parallel plot line in the desert kingdom of Behren. He spotlights the Elven-trained Ranger Brynn Dharielle as she quests to claim her birthright and free the nomadic To-gai from the theocratic occupation of Behren and its dark kingpriest--Yakim Douan.Transcendence is as much the story of Brynn's quest to free the oppressed To-gai as it is the tale of their oppressors. While events in Ascendance are heating up, Transcendence introduces the Yatol leader Douan who is single-mindedly preparing for his, yes, "transcendence" wherein the leader will die to be reborn. It's the secret behind this miracle and Douan's machinations to secure his lands in preparation for the rebirth that will eventually allow Brynn to free the To-gai from the Behrenese yoke. But Brynn's quest will unleash the deadly power of an ancient ally who will test her resolve to win her people's freedom.Transcendence is excellent fantasy. Salvatore's characters stride across a grand stage that is epic in scale yet still detailed and personal. The juxtaposition of happenings in the first two books sets up what will be a thrilling conclusion as the political implications of each will undoubtedly collide in book three. --Jeremy Pugh
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