Anthony, Mark 1966–
Anthony, Mark 1966–
(Mark Russell Lee Anthony)
PERSONAL: Born 1966.
"THE LAST RUNE" SERIES
Beyond the Pale, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1998.
The Keep of Fire, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1999.
The Dark Remains, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Blood of Mystery, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2002.
The Gates of Winter, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2003.
The First Stone, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2004.
(With Ellen Porath and Clyde Caldwell) Kindred Spirits ("Dragonlance Saga" series), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1991.
Crypt of the Shadowking ("Harpers" series), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1993.
Tower of Doom ("Ravenloft" series), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1994.
(With Fred Fields) Curse of the Shadowmage ("Harpers" series), TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1995.
Escape from Undermountain ("Harpers" series), 1996.
SIDELIGHTS: Mark Anthony is the author of fantasy novels set within the expansive and diverse array of story universes of TSR's Forgotten Realms game. Anthony's fantasy-writing career began with the publication of Kindred Spirits, a collaborative effort undertaken with fellow authors Ellen Porath and Clyde Caldwell that was part of the "Dragonlance" series begun by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman in the 1980s. His next work was a collaboration of a different sort: Anthony's Crypt of the Shadowking is part of the ongoing "Harpers" series, in which each installment or tale is written by a different author and features different heroes. The common thread in the "Harpers" series is the dedication of the Harpers to fighting evil in their world. Hugh M. Flick, Jr., reviewing the work in Kliatt, called Crypt of the Shadowking "well written." Anthony penned other contributions to the "Harpers" series, including Curse of the Shadowmage and Escape from Undermountain.
Anthony followed Crypt of the Shadowking with a contribution to the "Ravenloft" series. Tower of Doom is set in a universe where a "kindly hunchback" named Wort faces treachery, betrayal, monsters, and zombies. Kliatt contributor Gail E. Roberts commented that "the conclusion of the story is full of magic and fantasy."
Anthony's Beyond the Pale marked the beginning of "The Last Rune" fantasy series. In this dark fable, a bartender named Travis Wilder is transported from Castle City, Colorado, to an alternate universe, the planet Eldh, described by a Publishers Weekly contributor as "full of kingdoms that are highly derivative versions of Egyptian, Norse, Celtic, Roman and Greek mythology." On Eldh, Travis meets fellow human Grace Beckett, a physician with whom he joins in a heroic effort to save Eldh from evil forces.
A Publishers Weekly reviewer considered Beyond the Pale somewhat slow in its pacing but called Anthony's characterizations "sometimes exceedingly original and moving." The reviewer went on to praise the novel for its "exceptionally exciting action scenes." A Kirkus Reviews contributor described Beyond the Pale as being "intermittently intriguing and gripping," while Jackie Cassada commented in her review for Library Journal that "memorable characters" make Beyond the Pale a good addition to fantasy collections.
The adventures of Travis and Grace continue in The Keep of Fire, as Travis returns to Eldh to discover the cure for a mysterious disease that causes residents of his Colorado town to burst into flames. Once there, he is aided in his efforts to stop the spread of a demonic magician's fire plague by Grace, who has remained on the planet as a healer. While noting numerous coincidences in the plotting, a Publishers Weekly contributor described The Keeper of Fire as "a fast-paced, if predictable, fantasy quest adventure."
In The Dark Remains, the third of "The Last Rune" installments, readers learn the extent to which the earth-bound corporation Duratek will go to exploit Eldh after Travis and Grace transport wounded knight Beltan from the otherworld planet in an effort to save his life. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called The Dark Remains "clichéd" in its use of magical elements, but Booklist contributor Roland Green praised Anthony's novel as a "well-told fantasy tale" that "ends with a cliffhanger." The series continues with Blood of Mystery, which Green felt is lacking backstory, necessitating the reading of previous installments by those new to the series. In The Gates of Winter, Travis must destroy the gate through which Duratek has been gaining access to Eldh, a gate the Pale King fights to keep open so that Mohg, Lord of Nightfall, may return with his followers. Green wrote that in this book, "the action is brisk throughout, building to a climactic battle at the gate between the worlds." The saga concludes with The First Stone, revealing the secret that connects Earth and Eldh. The forces of evil have been defeated and three years of peace enjoyed when a new danger threatens Earth, requiring Travis and Grace to again join forces.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2001, Roland Green, review of The Dark Remains, p. 1232; April 1, 2002, Roland Green, review of Blood of Mystery, p. 1324; July 3, 2003, Roland Green, review of The Gates of Winter, p. 1876.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 1998, review of Beyond the Pale.
Kliatt, July, 1993, Hugh M. Flick, Jr., review of Crypt of the Shadowking, pp. 15-16; March, 1995, Gail E. Roberts, review of Tower of Doom, p. 13; January, 2002, Lesley S.J. Farmer, review of The Dark Remains, p. 14.
Library Journal, November 15, 1998, Jackie Cassada, review of Beyond the Pale, p. 94; December, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of The Keep of Fire, p. 192; March 15, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of The Dark Remains, p. 110.
Locus, May, 1991, review of Kindred Spirits, p. 45; May, 1993, review of Crypt of the Shadowking, p. 46.
Publishers Weekly, October 26, 1998, review of Beyond the Pale, p. 48; November 15, 1999, review of The Keep of Fire, p. 59; February 26, 2001, review of The Dark Remains, p. 63.
The Last Rune Web site, http://www.thelastrune.com (July 18, 2001).