What happens when the alu-fiend Aliisza gets a conscience? Will she turn to good? Will the justice of Tyr change a creature half-human, half-demon? Interesting questions, especially when you consider that demons are, by their nature, wholly evil. Such a plot allows for discussions on the nature of good and evil, and how choices affect our lives.
Thomas M. Reid, best selling author of Insurrection, returns to the character he created for that story in The Empyrean Odyssey. The first novel, The Gossamer Plain, follows Aliisza and her cambion lover Kaanyr Vhok on two separate journeys. Kaanyr’s takes him through the plane of Fire, assisted by a half dragon and a priest of Bane. Aliisza, meanwhile, must go on a journey through her soul as she finds herself trapped on the home plane of Tyr, the god of Justice.
The Gossamer Plain is mostly lead-in for the two books that follow. Kaanyr’s journey, while filled with a lot of action, develops the character only a little (he’s chaotic evil, I think) and leaves the priest of Bane in the background, although their camaraderie is interesting given their selfish natures. The half-dragon’s quest is known early on, and while it differs from Vhok’s, it is useful as a major plot changing device in the story.
The best part of the story is Aliisza. A tool for her lover’s plans, she finds herself being used by the astral deva, Tauran. Although he claims he is helping her, Aliisza feels he is using her. The debates about good and evil, especially the comment about how the good we do is still done selfishly, make for some deeper reading than is usually found in a sword and sorcery novel.
Not to worry though, as there is still plenty of action. Some of the plot twists are surprising, although I was disappointed by one at the end.
This is not, however, Thomas M. Reid’s best work. Although good escapism, not much happens, and by the end of the novel, I was wondering when the story would really develop. I can only assume it is in book two, The Fractured Sky. If you like Forgotten Realms or want to continue the story of Aliisza and Kaanyr Vhok, then you might enjoy The Gossamer Plain. However, if you are new to the Realms, this is not a good book to begin with. It is written more for Forgotten Realms fans who have a working knowledge of the shared world, and who read Insurrection.
The Empyrean Odyssey — (2007-2009) by Thomas M. Reid. Publisher: Ever wonder what could bring a demon to the gates of heaven? Aliisza and Kaanyr Vhok have returned from their attempted invasion of Menzoberranzan and turned their sights on Sundabar. But before she can complete a mission in that beseiged city, Aliisza finds herself in the one place a demon would never want to go, no matter how sure she is of her wits and cunning: the very heart of Celestia! Join everyone’s favorite succubus and her half-fiend boyfriend, introduced in the War of the Spider Queen series, in the first installment of their own exciting new trilogy!