________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 27. . . .March 14, 2014


Vyrkarion: the Talisman of Anor. (The Chronicles of the Karionin, Part Three).

J. A. Cullum.
Calgary, AB: Edge, 2013.
255 pp., trade pbk. & e-Book, $16.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-77053-028-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77053-029-4 (e-Book).

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

*** /4



Not all her audience understood, for she spoke in Eskh, the high tongue, the language of gods and of eslarin, but not of men. It was the trade tongue all over Tamar and the language of scholars, so enough understood for it to be quickly translated for the rest.

“The Year of the Dragon is upon us. The time of peace is dead. The Banner of the Winged Snake has risen in the west. The Estahar shall die. A new emperor shall come from the north, a god-king who will never die save by the hand of that which he himself creates. Woe, people of Tamar! The heavens will cry with tears of fire. The Talisman must be brought from the south. The child must be saved. So many paths, so many, many skeins unrolling like colored threads. The new age will be birthed in blood. If the child dies, it shall be an age of chaos worse than any known before.”

When she finished speaking, Inanda collapsed on the bench. A plump matron brought out smelling salts to revive her, and wine was brought for her to drink. A carriage was found and she was escorted with honor to the Sanctuary of Maera.


Vyrkarion, which follows Cinkarion: The Heart of Fire, is the third and final book in a trilogy, “The Chronicles of the Karionin”, which tells of the world of Tamar and a land divided into nine races of humans and near-humans. This volume follows Alanna Cairn, Talisman of Anor, who meets a wizard dying by the roadside. He recognizes the budding magic power inside Alanna and gives her Vyrkarion, one of the eight living crystals. To learn to use the crystal properly, Alanna must go to the capital city to receive serious training in magic from a major wizard. Her only logical choice appears to be Jerevon Rayne, a man she despises.

     To complicate matters, Aavik, wizard-lord of the shape-shifting lizard folk, has plans for world conquest and is in the city in disguise. He, too, wants to gain control of the crystal. The king’s cousin, Rhys Cinnac, also the bearer of a crystal, and a half-mad, half-god youth, decides he must take the throne. Standing in the way of both ventures is a young boy in poor health, Aubrey Cinnac, the king’s son and heir to the throne.

      Plotters abound, with shape-shifters, thieves and magic, but the story mainly follows Alanna, along with some of the more minor characters such as Rhys. Given the prologue, from which the excerpt above was taken, readers would not have to have read the earlier books in order to enjoy this tale although that reading would enhance the experience.

     At 255 total pages, the book opens with a page of reviews on the earlier books, a one page map in black and white, and a two page prologue. The story is split into Book One (The Year of the Ox) and Book Two (The Year of the Dragon.) The novel is divided into 30 chapters and ends with a four page epilogue. As Vyrkarion is well-written and complex, the lover of fantasy adventure will find a wealth of detail and interesting characters in this tale.


Ronald Hore, a member of several writing groups, writes medieval-style fantasy and fantasy detective stories in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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