Carolyn Cushman Reviews Red Waters Rising by Laura Anne Gilman

Laura Anne Gilman, Red Waters Rising (Saga 978-1-4814-2975-7, $16.99, 350pp, tp) June 2018. Cover by Emma Ríos.

The Devil’s West trilogy concludes – sort of – with this novel, which finds Isobel and Gabriel head­ing south for the winter, ending Isobel’s training trip as the Devil’s Hand on the eastern edge of the Devil’s Territory, across the Big Muddy river from what would be New Orleans in our world. Isobel’s not thrilled with the heat, but other prob­lems soon occupy her as frictions between various groups threaten to spark violence. Some resent the recent French-speaking Acadian immigrants, others believe natives and Europeans shouldn’t mix, and some want to end the Devil’s Agreement which gives natives control over settlement and keeps the Americans out of the region. Frighten­ing omens and enigmatic spirit warnings have Isobel wondering if she’s qualified to handle this, and Gabriel’s not a lot of help; he’s avoided using his water sense too long, and now the big river is seriously testing him. The problems, like the magic in this world, persist in being vague, but Isobel manages to tap her power and solve a series of small conflicts, finally coming to an important realization. It’s an odd conclusion to the trilogy, though it seems Gilman isn’t completely through with this world, with a novella featuring Gabriel in the works.

Carolyn F. Cushman, Senior Editor, has worked for Locus since 1985, the longest of any of the current staff, and handles our in-house books database, writes our New and Notable section, and does the monthly Books Received column. She is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in English. She published a fantasy novel, Witch and Wombat, in 1994.

This review and more like it in the July 2018 issue of Locus.
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