Bagel Reviews


The following books are written by Diana L. Paxson.

The Westria Saga is set in a future that take place after Earth decides she has had enough and removed all the people who would not follow the rules that she decided to set down. The setting is a Medieval California (and beyond its borders) where Earth Magic works. Some of the books are available through, some are out of print, and you may have to search for them.

The Westria Saga

Book One: The Mistress of the Jewels

The Mistress of the Jewels contains the first two volumes of the Westria Saga, which were originally published as Lady of Light and Lady of Darkness. For some bizzare reason, The Mistress of the Jewels does not seem to be in print, and Amazon doesn't even have it listed. They will, however, try and find you Lady of Light.

Order Lady of Light Today!

 Book Two: Silverhair the Wanderer

is also out of print and unlisted by Amazon. However, there is a short story called The Name of the King that comes right at the end of Silverhair the Wanderer and at the beginning of The Earthstone. It can be found in a collection called The Book of Kings, edited by Richard Gilliam & Martin H. Greenberg . The collection is out of print, but once again, Amazon will try and get this one for you.

Order The Book of Kings Today!

Book Three: The Earthstone

Amazon has this one listed as 'Book 6', but in fact it is either Book Three or Book Four, depending on whether you count Mistress of the Jewels as one or two books. They do have a number for it, so you might just acquire it without too much trouble.

Order The Earthstone Today!

Book Four: The Sea Star

Amazon lists this as 'Book 5,' which is no doubt confusing to a reader who doesn't have a score card.

Order The Sea Star Today!

Book Five: The Wind Crystal

Amazon lists this as 'Book 4.' As you can see, it is not. It comes after The Sea Star!

Order The Wind Crystal Today!

Book Six: The Jewel of Fire

Alas! Alas! Amazone does not list The Jewel of Fire, the stunnng conclusion of the whole saga! If you have read the rest, however, I am sure that nothing will stop you from finding a copy somehow.

Keep in mind that the Westria stories were published over a number of years, and that each books stands alone as a good story: so you won't be dissapointed if you only get one. But, having read them all in sequence, I can assure you that the search for all the parts is well worth the effort, and that the cumulative effect of the sum of the parts is really something.

If somebody in publishing was smart, he or she would bring out one of those nice hardback editions such as you see from Science Fiction Book Club, in which more than one book is bound. But the question has to be asked: Is there intelligent life in publishing?


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After Westria, Diana L. Paxson wrote two novels of Magic Realism: or maybe they can be called Contemporary Occult novels, after the manner of Dion Fortune and Marion Zimmer Bradley. (There is a certain little store in Berkeley that inspired the stores in both Diana's books and in Marion's The House Between the Worlds.) We keep hoping she will write more of these, especially as we know she has a couple of them in her head.

In Brisingamon a researcher at Cal Berkeley finds the necklace (of the title) of the Goddess Freya in an old chest and restrings the beads. When she puts it on, the Goddess arrives; and soon other Norse Gods start showing up, possessing bikers and poets, and preparing to fight out the Fimbral Winter over San Francisco. Needless to say, many members of the Norse community find this their favorite Diana L. Paxson novel.

Order Brisingamen Today!

The Paradise Tree tells the tale of a researcher who can't get stoned, works out a new drug through recombinant DNA techniques, and ends up opening other worlds. The drug falls into the hands of an unscrupulous (and incompetant!) teacher of Cabalism, and it is up to the heroine to rescue her friends from the mess that gets made. There are moments in this book that remind one of Charles Williams: but the finale, with its summoning of the dark and light aspects of the Tree of Life in a battle between two of Berkeley's most prominant landmarks, is pure Paxson.

 Order The Paradise Tree Today!

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White Mare, Red Stallion, the infamous 'horse book,' is set in Northern Britain under Roman rule, along the border where the Romans could not conquer. A young woman ends up becoming chief of her tribe. The reader is swept along by the adventure but also intrigued by the revelations of strange customs among the peoples who occupied the forsaken corner of the world. This book marks Diana's first forray into historical fiction, and in some ways it remains her most unique work.

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The White Raven was Diana L. Paxson's first bonafide best seller. It moved her into the realm of historical fantasy and demonstrated her unique voice in the retelling of a classic tale: in this case one of the two or three most important love stories of Western Literature, the tale of Tristan & Isolde.

She has stated that she is not very much interested in what it is like to be one of the great figures of history so much as to know what it is like to have to put up with them. Here, with detailed research to back her up, she paints a portrait of the doomed lovers on their star-crossed quest for self-destruction, set in the real world of the real Celts. Did you know that Celts were sort of headhunters? That they were likely to keep human heads around the house to talk to?

This is where Diana begins to bring out the big guns, and show everybody just what she can do.

Although the book is currently out of print, last time we checked you could order a used copy of the hardback, or bid on the paperback. 

 Order The White Raven Today!


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In The Serpent's Tooth she pulls out all the stops and, if sometimes before she showed a little too much restraint, there is none of it here. The tale of King Lear and his ill-fated decision is given reasonable (though no less tragic) explication in this novel seen from the point of view of his 'good' daughter. Paxson goes back to the material from which Will Shakespear himself worked, and eschews the dramatic license the Bard took with the history in order to plunge us into a world of striking barbarism and violent horror. If Shakespeare seems over the top in places, just wait until you read this one! More, the magical consciousness of the times is developed and set out in ways that Shakespear avoided in his serious plays, so there is an added dimension, rather as if the Magical Realism of both Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth had been incorporated into Titus Andronicus. This is one heavy novel, and well worth the read!

 Order The Serpent's Tooth Today!


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This next listing is a trilogy is by Diana L. Paxson & Adrienne Martine-Barnes. It is the Fionn mac Cumhal Chronicles, the story of Ireland's greatest legendary hero. I've read through this more than once as well!

 Order Master of Earth & Water Today!

Order The Shield Between the Worlds Today!

 Order Sword of Fire and Shadow Today!


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The Children of Odin Trilogy

Review: I read these books a little while ago and they are really well written. They manage to pull you back in time to the fifth century. The Roman Empire was falling down and the Huns were roaming about. This story is a retelling of the saga of the Ring Cycle. Diana manages to put you into the story so well you almost begin to believe you are there. It is full of action, love, deceit and betrayal. I really loved all three to the point that I actually re-read them every year or so to refresh them in my mind.

Book One: The Wolf and the Raven

Order The Wolf and the Raven Today!

Book Two: The Dragons of the Rhine

 Order The Dragons of the Rhine Today!

Book Three: Lord of Horses

Order Lord of Horses, in Hardback Today!

Order Lord of Horses, in Paperback Today!


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Magic: The Gathering

Some More Reviews by Mr. Bagel:

I recently read a few of these books, I have not yet read the rest of them. The following books are set in the fantasy world of Dominia. Each one uses elements from the Way Cool! card game called Magic: The Gathering. brought to us by the sharp minds at Wizards of the Coast. Some have inter-connecting stories, others work well as stand alone stories. On the whole I have been completely satisfied with the ones I have read, and if you like Magic I think you will like these too. If you have not experienced the game yet this could hook you!. The books are by several different authors.

Here is the first of the many stories, Arena, by William R. Forstchen.

Order Arena Today! 

...and the series continues. with Whispering Woods, by Clayton Emery

 Order Whispering Woods Today! 

The next book is Shattered Chains, also by Clayton Emery (not related to the book of almost the same title by Marion Zimmer Bradley). The main characters are the same, but there are a few more thrown in for spice.

Order Shattered Chains Today! 

...and Then, Final Sacrifice, a third by Clayton Emery.

Order Final Sacrifice Today! 

Next comes The Cursed Land, by Teri McLaren. 

Order The Cursed Land Today! 

...and then Prodigal Sorcerer, by Mark Sumner. This story is set in a valley torn by war and strife and racism. The lead character is trying to join the people of the valley together under one banner. However this is not as easy as it could seem...

Order Prodigal Sorcerer Today! 

The Series Continues with Ashes of the Sun, by Hanovi Braddock.

Order Ashes of the Sun Today! 

Then comes Song of Time, once again by Teri McLaren.

Order Song of Time Today! 

Then And Peace Shall Sleep, by Sonia Orin Lyris.

Order And Peace Shall Sleep Today!

Finally, we have Dark Legacy, by no less a luminary than Robert E. Vardeman!  one does not expect to see a writer of Vardeman's stature writing in this kind of a series, but here he is; and this one was very, very good! It tells of oa young man who does not seem to be able to be at home anywhere. As the story progresses it gets weirder, and it has an ending you really don't expect. Buy this one for sure!

Order Dark Legacy Today!


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