A Dark Victory - Dave Luckett
Omnibus, July 1999, pb, 336pp, $11.95. Cover by Joe Bond.
Reviewed by Jonathan Strahan

The final book in Dave Luckett's Tenebran trilogy, A Dark Victory, is a sometimes-grim tale of people taking responsibility for their actions and learning to act with honour. It is also a tale that Luckett has approached with sensitivity and leavened with a wit that makes it stand out from the run-of-the-mill fantasy.

As with the earlier books in the series, we are introduced to a young inexperienced character fleeing capture who must find a way to assert her independence and take control of her life. In A Dark Winter it was a role split between the young Will de Parkin and Sylvus de Castro, while in A Dark Journey it was Arienne Brook who was first exploited, and then escaped those who dominated her. In A Dark Victory we are introduced to Asta, a young girl strongly reminiscent of Arienne who is able to use magic but is unaware of it.

A Dark Victory is a more complex book than its predecessors, with Luckett looking to resolve the fate of Will and Arienne, and of the goblins. Both play an important part in the book's conclusion, with Will becoming a respected leader and Arienne an ambassador to the embattled goblin folk. Throughout the series, Luckett has cast the goblins, or underfolk, as an almost invisible, cruelly dominated minority. In A Dark Victory they finally find a way to cast off that oppression, and to assert their own right to a future.

The challenge in series fiction is to write a book that is successful on two levels-as a stand-alone work of fiction and as a portion of a greater whole. A Dark Victory does both. It rewards the first-time reader while providing a worthy climax to what is a better than average fantasy series. It is not flawless though. I for one wish the climax had been just a little longer and better developed - but it is a very good book and the start to a career worth following.

©1999 Jonathan Strahan.
This review originally appeared in Locus.