Review Carnelian Throne – Janet Morris – #Sci-fi #fantasy #dystopian

REVIEW #sci-fi #fantasy #dystopian #heroicfiction

Carnelian Throne

The fourth in Silistra Quartet does not disappoint. As ever the action starts immediately, with incredible creatures, fierce battles and searching of souls.  Our heroes are, by this time, ‘more than men (and women), and less than gods’ but in a land of largely bronze age people, ruled by creatures of ‘Wehrkind’ gods they appear.  And the locals aren’t impressed. In a quest for answers and revenge Sereth, Estri and Chayin must battle to free themselves from old rules, old beliefs, old prejudices and ghosts of their own pasts and emerge not only victorious but as rulers of this land. Ties of loyalty are truly tested, and the question of evolution, species selection and ranking is very much to the fore.

The Wehrdom creatures are fascinating – semi-telepathic creatures of all shapes and sizes, from eagle like creatures, to half man half beast, to those who just communicate with them. Led by a ‘dreaming’ king for a thousand years they wage war, they live, they die and they are manipulated in a kind of selective breeding or eugenic programme to remove the lesser (ie human) species and in ‘Wehr rage’ they are truly formidable.
As allies and enemies, these beings shape this story and this part of the world they inhabit. I found them worthy of pity (as pawns), frightening for their strangeness, enlightening for their intelligence and loyalty, and infinitely intriguing. They appealed to the mythic aspect I love so much in this author’s work.

Delcrit – the simple and lowly character we are introduced to early on – proves his worth and his destiny in a surprising twist.

The entire quartet brings forth questions on the wisdom of technology, the place in the world for the sexes, species, politics and laws. Biology is queen here, nature is queen, but the heroes must find their place among their own kind, and forge a future and protect their world from enemies many of which are of their own making.

The Silistra books are not simple, or easy to read but they are enthralling, exciting and thought-provoking. Silistra is dystopian – it is not Earth – but it COULD be. The characters are not us – but they COULD be.

As with all Morris’s work, the prose is very lyrical and very poetic. There is a beat to her work which pulls in the reader. No words are wasted, no scenes are out of place or unnecessary and thus it makes for a thrilling and evocative read.

There is treachery, love, bravery, intrigue, a lot of ‘fight or die’, complex characters and a supremely crafted world – everything one would expect in such a work.

Loose ends are firmly tied off, scores are settled and places allotted, and answers found.

5 stars.Layout 1

Book Spotlight – The Carnelian Throne – Science Fiction/Spec Fic/Fantasy

Layout 1

Title: The Carnelian Throne

Author: Janet Morris

Genre: allegorical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, political fiction

Main character description (short).

In a far and dystopian future, three rulers seeking to make truth of prophecy explore the “shores of which none are empowered to speak,” a forbidden continent where humanity no longer rules.

Synopsis:

Brief Excerpt 250 words:

“Gate!” he bellowed over the storm, his dripping lips at my ear. The deluge had made us sparing of words. Under leathers soaked to thrice their weight, I shivered in spasms. Arms clutched to my sides, I stared into the rain. The driven sheets slashed me for my audacity. Lightning flared, illuminating the riverbank white. A moment later, the bright noise cracked through my head. The hillock trembled.

Over the gate danced the lightning. Its crackling fingers quested down thick-crossed slabs of iron, seared flesh. Emblazoned as they tumbled were those six-legged amphibians, their streamered tails lashing, scaled, fangful heads thrown back in dismay. I saw their afterimage: beryl and cinnabar, aglow upon the storm. Then their charred remains splashed into oblivion, spun away on the fast current.

“Down!” One man shouted, the other shoved me, and as I staggered to kneel in the sedges, the god that washed this land shook it, grumbling. I crouched on my hands and knees on the bucking sod, between them. Little protection could they offer up against shaking earth and searing sky, not even for themselves, without divorcing themselves from the reality they had come here to explore. And that they would not do.

Somewhere far off the weather struck earth again. We knelt on a fast-declining shore. On our right and left, steeps ascended, cresting in a plume of dense rain forest. In that moment of illumination the whole river valley and the gate set into the river stood bared of shadow. Six times the height of a man was that gate.

Why should readers buy this book (50 words max)?

The Carnelian Throne makes you think as it explores the revenge of nature upon humanity once we have despoiled land and sea, and what our manipulation of genetics may mean for the future as the three foretold seek truth in prophecy where men no longer rule.

 

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Links etc.

Kindle On Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XDC8Y4K/

Hardcover on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Carnelian-Throne-Silistra-Quartet/dp/099775835X/

Trade paper on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Carnelian-Throne-Silistra-Quartet/dp/0997758341/

 

Hardcover on Barnes and Noble

Paperback on Barnes and Noble

Nook Edition

 

The Silistra Quartet on Black Gate Magazine: https://www.blackgate.com/2016/03/19/vintage-treasures-the-silistra-quartet-by-janet-morris/

Google Books: https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Carnelian_Throne.html?id=NJcIMQAACAAJ&source=kp_cover

About the Author:  Best selling author Janet Morris began writing in 1976 and has since published more than 30 novels. She wrote the bestselling Silistra Quartet in the 1970s, including High Couch of Silistra, The Golden Sword, Wind from the Abyss, and The Carnelian Throne. This quartet had more than four million copies in Bantam print alone, and was translated into German, French, Italian, Russian and other languages. In the 1980s, Baen Books released a second edition of this landmark series. This third edition is the Author’s Cut edition, newly revised by the author for Perseid Press. Most of her fiction work has been in the fantasy and science fiction genres, although she has also written historical and other novels. Morris has written, contributed to, or edited several book-length works of nonfiction, as well as papers and articles on nonlethal weapons, developmental military technology and other defense and national security topics.

 

Review – Golden Sword – Janet Morris

The Golden Sword – Janet Morris

5 stars

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Golden-Sword-Silistra-Quartet/dp/0996898271/ (UK link)

https://www.amazon.com/Golden-Sword-Silistra-Quartet/dp/0996898271/ (US Link)

Let me start by saying this is the SECOND book in the SIlistra Quartet – and it helps to have read the earlier book, although I think you could get by without it.

The action starts immediately, and thus some prior knowledge of the world and the main character is useful. That said The world building, like Janet Morris’s other books is superb and there is a helpful glossary at the back for the unfamiliar alien terms. When Morris creates a world she doesn’t hold back and this darkly sensual book ticks all the boxes for drama, cleverness and the ability to make the reader think. What is duty? What is love and how does it bind a person. Is sex merely pleasure or is there something far more profound in our genetic and cultural identity – and for that matter how fixed is it? Silistra is a world once ravaged by a war and environmental damage which almost destroyed everything – greed, vanity, selfishness and all the dark deeds of which an ‘intelligent’ society is capable. From these ashes rise the Wells and the alien but hauntingly possible culture of this world.

Silistra is a world where the ability to reproduce is perhaps the most important aspect – as wars and a bloody history almost destroyed the races. Thus sex, and the relationships between men and women, the way their society sees them, is important. And women ofter hold the power.  Yet it isn’t that simple (these things rarely are), for the various factions fight between themselves, try to hold the more technologically advanced races at bay, and seek to find themselves.  Love of those simply not worthy of it by the rational mind and of the call of one person’s allure to another.  The role of men and women, master or mistress and subordinate, of slave and free, of tribe and tribe, city and city, Silistrian and environment are woven about a tale of one woman’s quest to find out who she is and not necessarily liking the answer.

The secret of the Silistran longevity is threatened, and with it the Silistran way of life and all they hold dear. This is more than just Estri’s own fight for survival as allies and enemies duel, intrigue and switch allegiances.  Secrets are revealed, bargains struck and betrayed and threats loom from the stars without, the people within and the treachery of one’s own fear.

It’s not a book for those looking for a simple adventure, or a happy ever after. It’s not a love story, and it’s not a story for those who are easily offended. But it is a great story. There is sex, violence, betrayal, blood, death, loss, love, hatred, fear, power struggles and people being really quite shitty to one another, and in this I found a reflection of ourselves – our world as could be, and might well be. This is a book which makes one’s blood sing and one’s mind ponder.

I loved the first in the series and enjoyed this as much, perhaps more. The ending leaves the reader desperate to know what happens to Estri next – courtesan, slave, warrior, lover, rebel.  What is next for our heroine?