Friday 6 July 2012
The Glass of Dyskornis, and The Bronze of Eddarta by Randall Garrett and Vicki Ann Heydron
These are the second and third of the novels in The Gandalara Cycle, the first of which (The Steel of Raithskar) I reviewed last December. I gave the background to the series in that review, so I won't repeat it here.
In The Glass of Dyskornis, Ricardo/Markasset (now renamed Rikardon) and his sha'um Keeshah continue their adventures on the strange world of Gandalara. Having saved his father and himself from an accusation of complicity in the theft of the symbolic jewel, the Ra'ira, he decides to travel to the home of the sha'um in order to learn more about the giant fighting cats and their riders. While there, he meets Tarani, a disconcertingly beautiful young illusionist, who appears to be involved in a plot to kill him. Having survived that, Rikardon goes on the hunt to discover who was responsible for the plot and discovers it was a caravan leader called Gharlas, the same man believed to be guilty of stealing the Ra'ira. His pursuit of the man across the deserts and through the mountain passes of Gandalara takes up most of the book. On the way, he learns more about Gandalara and its people as well as himself, and begins to have an inkling of why he has ended up on this world.
The chase continues in The Bronze of Eddarta, in which knowledge of the true nature of the Ra'ira and the plans of Gharlas add more urgency. The pursuit ends in Eddarta, the largest and most powerful of the cities of Gandalara, where there are more revelations for Rikardon and more plot twists and dangers to overcome.
Like the first novel, these are fast and easy reads - they only add up to 315 pages between them. This whole series is a kind of literary comfort food, undemanding escapism to sink into and enjoy without trying to interpret deeper meanings. It is entirely suitable for young adults as well as somewhat older folk like your reviewer. More to follow!