With Malagigi having been carried off by demons in the middle of the night and Arak attacked, Rinaldo under Angelica’s spell as well as seeing her magic worm its way into everyone at Carolus Magnus’ court, Arak pleads with the king to expel her and to rescue the wizard before anything else can befall them. Written by Roy Thomas, the man makes Arak look like a fool in addition to the heathen most think he is and just when it seems like Arak will be taken prisoner, he finds the right moment to act and ends up inadvertently killing Argalia, brother to Angelica. All of this finally leads to Angelica revealing her true self as she summons a demon which she uses to flee while the king apologizes to Arak. With the incredible Ernie Colon at the helm aiding Thomas in his storytelling, they make it all quite exciting and action-packed and soon enough, Magnus sends Arak on a quest to rescue Malagigi from White Cathay, though just as to where that land is, he is unsure so the quest will indeed be just that with many a stop and adventure sure to be had along the way. Joining Arak is none other than the Iron Maiden, so named Valda who has stood by his side through everything thus far and she means to see her friend Malagigi back safe and sound. The remainder of the book is spent in travel and banter until they hit the Alpine Mountains. It is there when the snow starts to get thick and the air cold that they stop for the night in a mysterious shelter, not believing their luck, as they rightly should. During the night, Thomas and Colon send one more threat against the companions and they almost succumb to the evil that faces them, but being who they are, made as they are, they cannot help but overcome. One of the more interesting facets of the story is how Thomas has essentially made Arak’s quest for Malagigi a quest to find himself and it is good to see as Arak has been a little directionless after his Viking comrades were all killed. With everything the book should have including a good dose of horror and a completely engrossing story, Arak continues to delight.
4 out of 5