Okay, now having finished The Shards (and just when is Revenge of the Elves coming out??) I want to highlight what I believe to be the most daring concept of the Gemquest series: dissolution. The ideas of Good and Evil, or the Problem of Evil if you wish, are staples of the fantasy genre, particularly high or quest fantasy. Good fights Evil; Evil appears to be invincible; Good fights the good fight and wins against all odds; and then the surviving characters go home to accolades and rewards, et cetera. But Gary posits another moral orientation for this type of fantasy: not good versus evil, but rather life versus dissolution. The Big Bad Guy (tm) does not seek power as a means to dominate all others, but rather as a means to undo creation, to end all life. Interesting. There is something similar in my own writing, the darkness that is the end of all things. But whereas my Dark exercizes only a vague influence on events, Gary's dissolution has a corporeal agent, a being whose existence, for very self-centered reasons, is entirely focused on ending all existence. It's a very interesting concept, one that I'm not sure I have fully thought through, but I am very much looking forward to seeing how it is treated in the final two books. Anyone else have any thoughts on this?