by Jeffrey Canton
The final volume in Australian writer Garth Nix's superb Sabriel trilogy is as every bit as exciting, fantastically imagined and utterly intriguing as its predecessors, Sabriel and Lirael. Abhorsen neatly picks up just where the previous book, Lirael left off. Lirael, former Second Assistant Librarian and Daughter of the all-seeing Clayr and newly discovered Abhorsen-in-Waiting, is about to make her way into the Old Kingdom, accompanied by young Prince Sameth.
They're off to track down his old school friend Nicholas Sayre who has fallen under the spell of the Necromancer Hedge and is digging up something indisputably evil and long-dead. The pair are accompanied by their Free Magic companions, Lirael's own Disreputable Dog whom she called into being while working in the Great Library of the Clayr, and Mogget, a little white cat-shaped Free Magic servant to the Abhorsen. Meanwhile, the Abhorsen herself, Sabriel, and her husband, Touchstone, King of the Old Kingdom, are under siege in neighbouring Ancelstierre where Free Magic sorcery is causing havoc and facing a possible assassination attempt by rebel Ancelstierrian supporters of the powerful Corrolini faction. Can Lirael and Sameth possibly stop Nicholas in time or will an evil being of unspeakable power be unleashed on the Old Kingdom? Nix pulls out all the stops as he thrusts readers into the midst of the stunning fantasy world that he's created. This is a truly rich and rewarding conclusion to a first-rate fantasy adventure.