Cover image for The mask and the sorceress
The mask and the sorceress
Jones, Dennis, 1945-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : EOS, [2001]

Physical Description:
454 pages : maps ; 25 cm.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.5 26.0 54650.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Evil and madness flow through the bloodline of the troubled House of the Pandragore, threatening the stability of the throne and the future of the Ascendancy...

Seventeen centuries past, a great diviner locked the Deep Magic away forever with a powerful spell known as the Ban, deeming the primal sorcery too dangerous for use by humankind. But more than a millennium later, evil and ambition united to break the Ban in a savage war that nearly destroyed the great civilization of the Ascendancy. At dire cost Mandine and Key defeated that ferocious onslaught, and now rule their realm in a time of relative peace.

But the Deep Magic is chained no more, and war again threatens the royal house. For Mandine's exiled sister -- the treacherous and dangerously insane Theatana -- has escaped her prison with the inadvertent aid of raiders from a far-off country. Not only has the dark princess mastered her madness, she has discovered within herself seeds of the blackest sorcery which will help her ascend the throne she believes rightfully hers. Armed with new allies and power, she prepares to launch a merciless assault upon her own homeland...and her blood kin.

There is one, however, who is determined to thwart Theatana's implacable malice. Ilarion, heir to Key and Mandine, is prepared to pursue his mad aunt beyond the edges of the known world -- and to face untold peril on turbulent seas and in ancient lands -- in order to preserve the realm. But his path must cross hers at the very point where the world itself stands at the brink of catastrophe: on an island bitterly divided between sister and brother, goddess and god. It is here that Ilarion and Theatana both will be thrust into the seething heart of a tumultuous contest -- as the true power of an ancient tool of ritual is revealed...and the Deep Magic stirs dangerously from its long slumber.

Once again author Dennis Jones masterfully transports us to a world of fiery conflict, terrible deceits, and awesome magicks -- as perfidy and death threaten a new generation of The House of the Pandragore.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Readers will find above average but not outstanding high fantasy in this second book of Jones's The House of the Pandragore trilogy. Wicked sorceress Princess Theatana escapes from her island prison and makes her way to a forgotten, distant land, where she plots both magical and material revenge on her sister and brother-in-law who rule the Ascendency. However, when her nephew, Ilarion, discovers the escape, he goes in hot pursuit. Theatana schemes her way from court to court, seeking to strengthen her dark sorcery. Meanwhile pirates capture Ilarion, who barely manages to survive being sold into slavery to a sadistic potentate. The climax of the book is a no-holds-barred confrontation of aunt and nephew over the legendary Mask of the Adversary, an ancient magical artifact of considerable but unknown powers. Weaving the story out of classic or even stock elements, the author competently handles world building, characterization and pacing. Enough of the backstory enters to enlighten readers unfamiliar with the first volume in the trilogy, The Stone and the Maiden (1999). And by not closing on a cliffhanger, the book plays fairer with the reader than some more famous serial works of high fantasy. (Apr. 12) Forecast: The previous book received mixed reviews, but with this novel featuring supportive blurbs from Robin Hobb and Anne McCaffrey, the following for this series could grow. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When the insane sorceress Theatana escapes from her island prison, her nephew Ilarion sets off to find her before she can discover the whereabouts of the Mask of the Adversary and use it to take control of the land. Jones's sequel to The Stone and the Maiden (LJ 7/99) depicts an exotic world filled with treachery and arcane magic. Strong characters and a fully developed antagonist make this a good choice for most fantasy collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Adult/High School-At the end of the previ-ous book, Theatana Dascaris was driven mad by repeatedly experiencing the deaths of those she had ordered executed. Now a quarter century later, she is living in exile on the tiny island of Selemban, south of the Ascendancy. Rasennan raiders from across the Blue free her and take her to their homeland. By several cruel tricks of fate, her nephew, Ilarion Tessaris, also ends up with the Rasenna, as a slave on Haidra. Theatana wastes no time in trying to master the Black Craft so she can take revenge on her sister and her family. Her goal is the Mask of the Adversary. Far from home, with no way to cross the Blue, Ilarion stands against his aunt and her allies with the assistance of Protectress Elyssa, a Rasennan ruler. Ilarion is an appealing hero, determined to stop his aunt and overcome his own Dascaris rages. Theatana is a suitably hissable villainess, selfish and cruel. The clash between them is exciting and suspenseful, and the action is enlivened by wonderful supporting characters. There is a focus on political intrigue this time around. Once again, the action is wrapped up so that this volume stands alone, but there are intriguing possibilities for the future.-Susan Salpini, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Chapter One Theatana and her guards walked along the Lagoon's beach toward the rising sun. The slanting light turned the fine-grained quartz sand at her feet from white to rose, and brushed the lagoon's ripples with molten copper. As usual, the lagoon was calm; separated from the open sea by its barrier reef, it remained placid even when the ocean was in an angry mood. The four guards trailed a score of paces behind her, which was their habit during her morning walks. Occasionally Theatana wondered what they would do if she threw off her clothes, ran into the water, and began to swim for the reef. She would never reach its distant dark line, of course; the reef was a long way out, and she wasn't a strong swimmer. But would the guards spear her when she was a few yards from shore or, obeying some secret order not to interfere with her suicide, would they simply watch her swim away until she sank? The question was no more than an idle fancy. Theatana had no intention of killing herself, for her death would merely relieve the minds of those who had exiled her to this utterly remote island of Selemban. As long as she lived she could at least burden her enemies' days with flashes of worry. It was little enough, but she had been on Selemban for a long time, and she no longer hoped for any greater revenge. She halted to gaze at the distant sea beyond the reef. She wore a thin white dalmatica that fell almost to her sandaled feet, and with it an overmantle of yellow linen. Though the cloth was rich, no jewelry glinted at her throat nor on her fingers or wrists. Her hair was black and cut short about her shoulders, and in it were fine strands of gray, for she was at the later edge of childbearing age. Her hands bore no marks of toil, and neither harsh weather nor strong sunlight had marred her golden skin. Though her face was still fit to turn men's heads, she had never borne children, and her slender figure showed it. Her eyes were the color of indigo, or the deep sea beyond the reef. She scanned the horizon. She did so even knowing she would see nothing but the sea and the morning sky. The supply ship wasn't due for twenty days, and in any case it always approached from the other side of the island. Then it sailed round the island's western tip to gain the shelter of the small harbor inside the reef. The harbor itself was out of sight beyond a low ridge of white stone, in the direction from which she had come. Theatana glanced back toward the ridge. On its crest, and inland behind the beach, grew tall fretwork palms. She was vaguely aware that people on other islands harvested their bark for its intricate natural embossing, and made artifacts from it to send to the mainland far to the north. No such people lived on Selemban. Here there were only Theatana, her guards, the guard commander, and the deaf-mute eunuch who cooked for all of them. In her first years on Selemban she had sometimes diverted herself by pretending they were her household, and that she was a ruler again. But the fantasy was too disheartening, and she eventually, bitterly, gave it up. She had been a prisoner for all her adult life, and no intensity of imagination could obscure her fate. She had missed almost everything of her life, and even now, after so many years, she could not really accept its ruin. Sometimes she lay awake in the hours before the dawn and silently wept for her loss. She noticed a movement among the distant palm trunks on the ridge. The guards stirred and looked at it. Theatana said nothing to them, for they knew nothing of her language and she loathed speaking theirs, though she'd learned a good deal of it during her exile here. They were dark-skinned Mixtun islanders, in leather and iron armor and carrying short stabbing swords at their belts. Each wore a thick braid of hair that snaked from beneath his helmet and hung swaying at his back. The one in charge of her escort -- she had no idea of his name, for all the guards except the commander were changed every monthgrunted, and gestured at her to go toward the ridge and the man now hurrying toward them. Theatana stared hard at the Mixtun, and he made a furtive warding sign with his least finger and his thumb. But his gesture against her supposed evil meant nothing; the guards would still force her compliance if she did not go willingly. Accepting necessity, she turned and began to walk at a languid pace toward the still-distant figure. By the man's helmet crest and smudge of black beard she could tell that it was Tabar, the Mixtun guard commandant. Suddenly her pulse quickened as she realized the oddity of his behavior. Why was he wearing a helmet? Normally he went bareheaded because of the heat, as did the guards. More peculiar still, why was he coming for her himself, instead of sending one of his men? He was a rigorous jailer, and scrupulously kept his distance from his captive. He spoke to her only when it was essential for him to do so. This suited Theatana perfectly; he was a stupid, narrow man. Perhaps, she thought suddenly, it was her death warrant and her death that he brought. Would he hasten his steps like this, for such a purpose? No, that's not it. He'd cut my head off from behind, without warning, so I'd have no chance to curse him. And after this long, it's not likely there's been such an order. Excerpted from The Mask and the Sorceress by Dennis Jones. Copyright © 2001 by Dennis Jones. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.