Casting Shadows, by Jeanne Cavelos, is the first book in the The Passing of the Techno-Mages trilogy. I finally gotten the time to sit down and read it, and here is a review. In brief: most excellent. The review is for the most part spoiler-free.
Casting Shadows, by Jeanne Cavelos, is the first book of The Passing of the Techno-Mages trilogy, the others being Summoning Light (due in July) and Invoking Darkness (due in November). Jeanne Cavelos is no stranger to the Babylon 5 universe, either. She is also the author of The Shadow Within, Book 7 of the orginal numbered books and one of the best.
There isn’t a lot we know about the Techno-Mages from Babylon 5 and Crusade. We’ve really only encountered them twice – first, with Elric, as they were on their way out of known space (to avoid the “coming darkness”), and then with Galen in A Call to Arms and Crusade. This books serves to explain them and their mythology. But it is not solely exposition. An excellent story drives it all.
The primary focus is on Galen, to whom we are introduced when he is but an apprentice under the tutalage of Elric. Through the story, we discover what drives Galen, ending up as the Galen we know. We see what drives the Techno-Mages from known space, and even a bit of their mysterious history and their culture.
This was far more than just an “episode” of the series, much as the early books were. We see plenty of character development, a feature usually lacking when someone is writing a story in another’s universe. Galen’s motives, feelings, and pain all come through clearly.
Trying to keep this spoiler-free, there was one particular chapter in the book pulled on my own emotions. With the recent passing of my father due to cancer, I had trouble reading as I could understand perfectly Galen’s emotions at the time – simultaneously knowing there is nothing you can do but wanting to try anything, wanting to be there but also to run away. Never has a book done this to me before.