After killing the previous High Priest of Artemis, Arak has now been forced to take up the mantle and much like the former holder of that title, he has gone quite mad. After months of being left alone, Arak, now bereft of his name, is ready to take part in the Ceremony of the Golden Bough where everything becomes official as it were. Elsewhere, in the village of Ephesus, Satyricus has become a sideshow attraction, though he also happens to be in on the scam. Everything for the satyr is going well in the absence of his adventures with Arak, that is until the moment an evil sorcerer barges in, not simply because of his looks either but for the fact that he enters as living flame, essentially proclaiming himself to be as such. It is for Satyricus that he comes in order that he might sacrifice the last living satyr in the temple of Artemis so he might gain eternal life, something Satyricus wants no part of. As the first story leaves off, it does so on a cliff-hanger with his now-nameless friend attacking him with an axe. The second half of the book is devoted to Valda the Iron Maiden who has caught up to Malagigi in a way, that being as a prisoner, but she soon makes her way free so that she might aid the man against his mortal enemy. The action starts immediately, but it is not long before she makes a tactical error by distracting the wizard so that Baledor finally gains the upper hand. It is here that Malagigi must make a decision and that is to either continue the fight and thus putting Valda in a position where she might be killed or give himself up in order that she be saved. Of course, the mage chooses the latter with writer Roy Thomas ending this story too on a cliff-hanger, to be continued in the next issue. Where Valda is concerned, it is nice to see the story finally pick up in pace, not that it has not been interesting, but it is the first in the book that always remains the more exciting of the two. How Arak gets out of his current predicament should be quite intriguing to say the least, as his madness has taken away his reason and all that one can surmise is that Dyanna is going to somehow play a part in it, that of course remaining to be seen in the thirtieth issue of the series. All in all, a good book from front to back.
4 out of 5