Ted Nolan <tednolan>
2021-05-10 04:21:12 UTC
Well, I had only one book in last month's tranche because it took me
an entire month to get through these six books; it's quite a long
series, but a worthwhile one. As usual, Amazon would like me to say
the link below is an affiliate link which could potentially earn me
some money if you end up buying something after clicking on it.
The Buried Goddess Saga: The Complete Series: (An Epic Fantasy Boxed Set:
by Rhett C. Bruno & Jaime Castle
Book 1: Web of Eyes
Book 2: Winds of War
Book 3: Will of Fire
Book 4: Way of Gods
Book 5: War of Men
Book 6: Word of Truth
Liam the conqueror is dying. The king who subdued most of Pantego
in the god Iam's name is beset with a wasting illness that has
sapped both his body and mind. It can't be kept a secret any longer,
and the vultures are starting to circle. Perhaps if he had a ready
heir, things wouldn't be so fraught, but his son is years away from
majority, and his queen is foreign born, disliked and casually
cruel: half the Kingdom of Glass already thinks she has poisoned
him. The elites in the capitol of Yarrington know the situation
Far away from the febrile atmosphere of the Throne, the populace
is not so worried, and life goes on. In particular, the little
Glass farming village of Troborough hardly notes the turmoil. The
crops must be tended, and the local tavern still offers drinks and
bards to the weary farmers between toil and bed. It's a bucolic
place, and one whose dirt Whitney Fierstown, who now styles himself
Pantego's greatest thief, was glad to scrape from his boots when
he escaped the farming life years ago. He's not sure what lark has
brought him back to the old place now; perhaps some desire to prove
he has made good, though his always fragile ego is bruised as nobody
seems to remember him in the first place. Perhaps it was a desire
to rub things in his unloved father's face, though circumstances
find both his parents dead of the plague. Perhaps it was the feeling
of one big thing left undone, one connection not made. At any rate,
it hardly matters why he's getting drunk in the local tavern when
an argument with a dwarf mercenary escalates into a brag that, of
course the greatest thief on Pantego could steal the Glass Crown
right from the king's head -- and with that drunken boast, the die is cast.
Torsten Unger is a knight, one of Liam's elite, and a pious and
stiff-necked scion of Iam. Born of foreign parents in the slums
of Yarrington, he was elevated to the nobility by Liam after, mostly
by accident, foiling an assassination attempt. Now, with the king
he idolized newly in the grave, he is chosen by the Queen regent
as the new Wearer of The White -- the Kingdom of the Glass's head
of military, she having sent his mentor and predecessor in that
office on a fatal quest to retrieve a doll that she, according to
the barbarian beliefs of her Drav Cra people, thinks contains part
of the soul of her son. Stolen by her scheming and still foreign
brother, she believes it contains the key to returning her son, the
young king, to sanity, the lack of which can not much longer be
concealed. Devoted to the late king as he was, and as enamored of
the Queen regent as he is, Torsten is still a good man, and there
are things he won't do, things the not doing of which see him
stripped of his rank, and decided upon the notion that even if the
idea is heathen, the doll quest must be undertaken if there is any
chance of saving the young king before his mother ruins the kingdom.
It's a quest whose completion will likely take a thief..
Sora is a Panpingese war orphan. Many such, their families lost
to Liam's endless wars of conquest, are scattered across the Glass
Kingdom, their succor secured by royal decree, but nothing can
secure their acceptance, and as very visibly different from the
common Glassian ethnicity, Sora has heard the epithet "knife-ear"
many times too often growing up. It certainly doesn't help matters
that she was taken in by a man the local villagers consider half-crazy
even if he does seem to know something of the healing arts, and it
would get her killed if they knew Sora has found the proscribed and
contra-Iam power of Blood Magic alive in her veins.
Why Iam would care about such is not entirely clear. Everybody
agrees that ages ago, there was a God Feud, that Iam won, though
he has not been much in evidence since, that Bliss remained also
on Pantego if changed and banished, that many minor gods were sent
to the nether realm of Elsewhere, and that Nesilia was buried but
not extinguished. Beyond that, the details are hazy, even, apparently,
to the gods themselves. Certainly the different churches have their
own spin, and the Drav Cra votaries of the Buried Goddess would say
that Iam's evil won, but that Nesilia will return. The dwarves
have their own god who was evidently not much involved as do the
Shesaitju. The Glintish don't worry much about such things at all
and take their pleasure in the world as it is and as it comes.
Whatever happened, it seems odd that the quest of three chance
matched companions for a possibly cursed doll could set in motion
things so as to make all of Pantego care about such events of the
dead past again, but then, as the Drav Cra say: "Buried, not dead."
This was a very enjoyable series, and I recommend it to you without
reservation. If you've read much fantasy, you can certainly see
echos of many other books in it, probably most strongly Martin's
"Game Of Thrones" and Tolkien's "The Hobbit" and even a bit of "Lord
Of The Rings". It is certainly not as grim as the former, nor as
richly imagined as the later, but it stands on its own two feet and
moves right along. The viewpoint characters are engaging, and
largely (if not entirely) likable even when at odds with each other.
They are also real enough that you often want to grab and shake
some sense into one or the other. There are enough surprising turns
as well to keep you on your feet. I admit there were several things
I absolutely expected to go another way, and after settling down a
bit I've decided the books were better for it.
Is this a perfect series? No. Some of the terms, like the slang
for excrement never really become natural, others like "Nigh'jel"
were a bit too facile. There are a few things that got a build-up
without a follow-through, and one character who should have been
there at the end for dramatic closure. At other times a character
will have an attitude that seems a bit too "modern". Also, for
whatever reason, perhaps because it was the scene they wrote first
and they were loath to change the initial impetus for the whole
series, the prequel which sets the stage is rather wooden and
plodding. As I had bought the omnibus 6 volume edition, I was
rather concerned that I had six books of such uninspired prose
ahead, and was seriously considering if I wanted to get into it.
Luckily I continued to the start of the action and things improved
like night & day.
Is this a very good series? Yes, and I recommend it without reservation.
What's not in Columbia anymore..
What's not in Columbia anymore..