Fantasy novel by Rick Cook; third in the series beginning with Wizard's Bane. Wiz Zumwalt, programmer-wizard in a sword-and-sorcery world, along with his fellows Jerry Andrews and Danny Gavin, seek to negotiate terms with the magical creatures of the World, even as a band of dwarves embark upon a quest to destroy the "alien wizard" that has upset the balance of power. Meanwhile, in Cupertino, Judith Conally, former member of the magic programming team and now fantasy author, is injured in an accident and remains in a coma. While visiting her, her friend and fellow roleplaying game enthusiast, Craig Scott, hears her disconnected mutterings about her time in the magical World. Eager for the opportunity for power, Craig contacts fellow cracker Mikey Baker, and they find a way to have themselves transported, by the Ur-Elves, to a world in between the magical one and their own world.

Craig uses his newfound magical power to create robotic armies, ranging from simple tanks and jet fighters to Battletech-style fighting robots, while Mikey seeks to understand and exploit the dark forces that brought them to their world. Meanwhile, Wiz, Jerry, and Danny, alerted to the threat by Duke Aelric the elf, seek to develop the key that will close off the new "bubble world" forever. As the key is an eleven-dimensional fractal shape, they hijack a supercomputer from the "real" world and use it to generate the key. Several more subplots ensue, including that of an unlucky F-15 pilot who flies between the worlds by accident, tangles with a dragon, and winds up falling in love with its young female rider. The book ends in a climactic battle for the future of all the worlds.

Cook proves once again that he still has the touch, putting together another book full of geeky references and lots of fun. Highly recommended, as with the rest of this series.

Source: Rick Cook, The Wizardry Cursed (Baen Books, 1991)

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