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Sorcerer's Moon: Part Three of the Boreal Moon Tale [Paperback]

Julian May
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Aug 2007 Boreal Moon Tale

The stunning conclusion to a powerful epic fantasy from the worldwide bestselling author of the Saga of the Pliocene Exile.

For sixteen years King Conrig Ironcrown has ruled High Blenholme, battling both to preserve the Sovereignty he ruthlessly established over the four provinces of the island kingdom and to repel the invading Salka monsters that threaten them all. His hope for the future is his heir, Prince Orrion, whose betrothal to a princess of the province of Didion should assure the future peace of High Blenholme. But Orrion has no interest in the girl, and is determined to marry instead his childhood sweetheart, Lady Nyla.

Orrion's madcap twin, Corodon, dreams up a scheme to keep Orry and Nyla together by asking the supernatural Beaconfolk, who appear as lights in the sky, for a magical intercession. The twins are unaware that the Beaconfolk are fighting their own battle with others of their kind; to them all humans, even princes, are but pawns to be used in their own conflict. Their granting of Orrion's wish comes in a manner the twins far from expected, and precipitates chaotic infighting amongst the folk of High Blenholme.

As battles rage both on the ground and in the sky, the only hopes for peace can be found deep in King Conrig’s murky past. His former spy, Deveron Austrey, has secret magical powers and no love for the Beaconfolk. And while many of his subjects no longer remember the King's first wife, Maudrayne, she has never forgotten that her son is the true heir to the throne of High Blenholme.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (6 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007123264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007123261
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 17.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

‘A gleefully complex festival of skulduggery, plotting and intrigue … a cast of deliciously selfish characters … a story that is essentially about how power – both political and magical – corrupts … rollicking fun’ DeathRay

Praise for Julian May:

‘A demon’s delight of high fantasy to lighten the darkest day’ Northern Echo

‘A writer of exceptional perception and power’ JEAN AUEL

‘Julian May has irrevocably placed herself among the greats’ Asimov’s magazine

‘A certain crowd-pleaser’ Kirkus Reviews

Book Description

What must be lost for peace to be won?

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A let down 4 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback
I was really disappointed with this book. I have been a big fan of the author since reading the Saga of the Exiles etc - brilliant work - however I had the impression that the author had got tired of the characters in this trilogy. The set up in the first book was that the main character had been living in exile and there was a story round that - what we ended up with in the final instalment was an OK book which killed people off like no-one's business, the loose ends speedily tied up at the end in the space of a few pages, followed by a couple of paragraphs of 'what happened next' which read for all the word like a proposal to the publisher for a final volume never to be written, and a sentence along the lines that it was none of our business what happened next in detail with the hero and his wife! If you have read the other two books, then like me you will have to read this one for completeness, but be prepared for a let down at the end.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good! 17 Jan 2014
By ELDB
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this for my Husband couple of years back I think and he loved the book, thank you. I recommend Amazon when buying books as they are quite reasonable.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as the others but still worthwile 10 Jan 2007
By Jo Bunt
Format:Hardcover
The previous two books were possibly the best books ever. This is not as good but still rates amoung my best. It has everything you would waunt in a book -(but maybe a few more animals?)-Ullanoth plays a rather tame role, but there are some fab new characters. Old ones die off at an alarming rate, but this was overall a good read and I shall be looking out for more by the author.
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Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bringing her Boreal Moon series to a close in Sorcerer's Moon 23 Nov 2006
By Rebecca Huston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are some authors out there that I will read sight unseen; that is, no matter what genre they're writing, I'm going to give the book a try. One of those authors for me is Julian May -- I've been a cheerful addict of her books ever since her magnificent Pliocene Saga.

Now she has wrapped up a new three part saga set in the fantasy world of the Boreal Moon. With the third volume, Sorcerer's Moon, there has been a long period of relative peace for a fledgling empire. For sixteen years Conrig Wincantor has the Sovereign of High Blenholme, hiding his own dormant magical powers that would disqualify him for kingship, and ruling in a particularly ruthless, if efficient way. And with two sons that are eligible to follow him, it doesn't look like things are going to be changing in the near future.

And as for Deveron Austrey, the narrator of this tale, he's vanished after the events in Ironcrown Moon , and lives an uneasy exile. But the woman he abandoned, Iduna, has come to him, not out of love it seems, but to bring Deveron back into the schemes of the Source, a mysterious being who is conducting a great plan to rid Blenholme of the Beaconfolk, the shifting lights in the northern skies.

And now, it seems that a new set of players have entered the game. Conrig's heir, Orrion, has no desire to marry the girl his father has chosen for him, and climbing to the top of the mountain known as the Demon's Chair to beseech the Lights or Demonfolk to help him get out of the deal. Let me marry the girl I love! he cries out -- and looses his right arm in the process, an action that disqualifies him to be king, and makes his twin brother, Corodon, heir. Corodon, who's a bit vain, and not nearly as thinking as his brother, is pleased as could be to be his father's successor, but many fear that he's not going to be up to the task.

The Beaconfolk, able to grant supernatural powers in exchange for human suffering, use moonstones carved into sigils and shapes for their magical doings. Deveron, who has a few gifts of his own, knows all too well what sort of suffering can be exacted for the use of the moonstones, for he has two of the great powers in his own hands, and does everything that he can not to use them.

New characters and old ones are coming to play in this final volume as well. The Salka, monsterous, magic-using, amphibians have taken over the kingdom of Moss, endlessly planning how they can destroy humankind, and waging a never-ending guerilla war against King Conrig. But the exiled Conjure-King, Beynor, thought to be long dead, makes a return, and it seems that he's matured a bit in the years -- he's nearly, likeable. And a young woman, Casya the Pretender, has been putting her forth her own claim to be Queen of Didion. Finally, the first wife of King Conrig is anything but dead, and Princess Maudrayn has her own ambitions in play.

It's a complicated, detailed story, full of politics and double-dealing, as well as the more usual battles and spellcasting. One of May's strong points is that she is able to give the reader characters that are complete, that is, they each have their own motivations and sufferings and internal lives, and she's not afraid to give them a twist or two for fun. But she also knows her science and puts that to good use in creating a magical system that has its own limitations and abilities, with the result that it doesn't have the hokum that I usually find in most fantasy novels -- here there are real consequences to actions, and magic is something rare and dangerous, not just a do-everything tool.

Her work is geared more for adult readers rather than teens, but that's another selling point of her work. The plot lines are complicated, and require that the reader pay attention to who is who, and what is going on. But the payoff is worth it, as there is certain to be justice paid to those who richly deserve it, and a certain satisfaction at the end. For those of you out there who want a sophisticated fantasy series with plenty of action, true emotions, and some truly devious monsters and players, this set of books should do very nicely.

The previous two books in the series are Conqueror's Moon and Ironcrown Moon. I do recommend that the reader be familiar with these first two titles, as May does not provide much of a synopsis in this one to give a hint of what has gone on before. While this does avoid explainitis, it also can make the story a bit confusing. But that's only a momentary problem.

On the whole, this is a grand, epic adventure, where there are surprises and new twists on the entire fantasy genre from start to finish. I do hope Ms May keeps writing, as both her science fiction and fantasy novels always have new ideas and plenty of good storytelling to recommend them.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a Let Down 2 July 2009
By penny pincher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was extremely disappointed in the conclusion to this series. The first two books were quite intriguing and I was looking forward to getting my hands on this book for some time. After starting to read this last book, I thought it just dragged along without any truly interesting plot points! I forced myself to finish the book after two weeks of prolonged evening torture, and I have no pleasant memories to justify the pain! What really bothered me was the way this book ended! It dragged for pages and then the author did a fast forward in the last couple pages to tell you how the main characters fare in the future! I felt like the most interesting things to happen were condensed in those couple pages and they were totally glossed over!!! What a let down! I certainly won't be buying any more books in the future if the author decides to revisit this realm!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Conclusion 22 Jan 2008
By Shannon Skoglund - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I read and enjoyed the first two books of this series. As others have noted, May's use of magic is unique in the field of epic fantasy, and she definitely does not fall into the same well-worn plot devices. The first two were interesting, sufficiently complex, and fast-paced.

Let me say here that I have not yet finished the third book, and that it has been some time since I read the first two. I didn't feel the need to reread the previous books, as the early chapter of the book rather nicely summarizes what happened - not enough to make up for reading them, but enough for a previous reader to think, "Oh yes! Now I remember."

That said, I feel the conclusion of this series is extraordinarily weak. The writing seems to have suffered, and I can't remember if the previous two were this bad. All the characters speak in the same voice with the same silly, awkward vocabulary and turns of phrase. Interspersed with dialog are long pages of filler exposition and contrived back stories. May's idea of jumping 16 years between books 2 and 3 does not work well.
Every couple of pages, I've had to put the book down, cringing.

I've started trying to prune my collection down to only those books I really love. I checked out book 3 from the public library, intending to buy it if it wasn't awful. I am sad to say that I will be returning the book as well as donating the first two of the series.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring moon 4 Sep 2010
By Evil Overlord - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This review covers the entire Boreal Moon trilogy (but the score above is for the individual book).

I'm a big fan of the Saga of Pliocene Exile, and I also enjoyed the Galactic Milieu. So, since I was unable to get the books one by one as they appeared, I bought the entire Boreal Moon trilogy in one go, excited for a real treat.

This wasn't it. From the start, the first book failed to capture my interest, but eventually, I forced my way into the story, and after a few chapters, it got better. But not much.

The series relies on complex politics, and simplistic individual motivations. The evil foe (the Salka) are a caricature - literally stupid, evil, slimy, green, tentacled baddies - sidestepping the fact that they somehow created the special magic sigils the entire trilogy depends on. Worse, the entire story ignores the fact that the slimy creatures are the aboriginal inhabitants of the island, and that humans displaced them through conquest. The fact that they want their land back just proves their evil nature. Good creatures who want their land back are fine, though.

The omniscient narrator tends to forget that the characters are not (meant to be) omniscient, and central figures keep picking up key bits of information almost at random. The magic system is barely examined, and is highly inconsistent - for example, "windscrying" (clairvoyance) is widely used, but virtually no one takes even simple precautions against it. This means that all sides can easily pick up opponents' plans - except when scrying mysteriously doesn't work (or isn't considered) - all too apparently for the convenience of the author. Finally, the resolution of the trilogy is very much ex machina.

May relies here heavily on an omniscient, yet coy and perpetually vague oracle/fate. She used this same technique to slightly better effect (though near-equal reader frustration) in the Galactic Milieu books. Having now read all her major works (including parts of the Trillium and Rampart Worlds series), I can say that she was at her best in Pliocene Exile, when her voice was fresh and the setting unique. Much less successful, though still interesting in the Galactic Milieu, which built on part of the same background. The Boreal Moon trilogy, however, uses the same techniques in a fairly standard-issue fantasy setting, and it just doesn't work.

The trilogy is slightly dull and convoluted in the first volume, but still worthwhile for May fans. The second volume (Ironcrown Moon (The Boreal Moon Tale)) is substantially less interesting, but does carry the story forward. The final volume (Sorcerer's Moon (The Boreal Moon Tale)) is a very hard slog indeed, and worth reading only for those who just can't stand to quit a story part way through.

If you enjoy Julian May and epic fantasy, skip this series.
4.0 out of 5 stars Consistent 22 Oct 2006
By V. K. Lin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you liked the first two books of this trilogy, you'll like this conclusion. In retrospect, what Ms. May is basically stating is that "power corrupts, ambition corrupts, the two combined are deadly, and only the responsible, restrained use of power in the most noblest of circumstances is worthy."

This is a different kind of fantasy. A solid story, not especially convoluted. We fans of the genre are used to more fantastic, more outlandish, more emotional. We are used to seeing characters suffering undue emotional and/or physical hardship. In many cases, we are used to bonding to a handful of characters and getting to intimately know them.

Instead, we have a well-written story. Ms. May jumps to and from the major players throughout once again, telling a story. The writing flows easily, and there are moments of very nice word choice that make me sentimental for Ms. May's older style. The characters grow somewhat, but we still never get to know them all that well.

Consistent. This trilogy opened as the memoirs of the exiled Royal Intelligencer Deveron Austery sought to "rewrite history" to more accurately convey "what really happened." The message, again, was that the existing monarchy had retrospectively sought to alter what had really happened to put forth a more palatable facade. Since we have never seen the altered history of this fantasy world... something is missing for the reader.

Ms. May tells the story perspectively from how Deveron might choose to write a history text-- but this trilogy is typical third person narrative. In terms of organization, it is actually quite typical of Ms. May books-- but we lack the extreme, living characters we are used to from her. Don't get me wrong, below-average for Ms. May is above-average for most fantasy authors-- I never question the decisions of the characters as inconsistent. But they lack the life, the intimacy I look for. But she writes just enough to convey the events and motivations, without any "eye-candy".

Even the climax occurs almost too quickly-- perhaps the editors made her meet space limitations. I don't know. And the epilogue is wholly unsatisfying, albeit not that we really care in the long run. The final sentences say it all:

"And for my dearest Induna... (Deveron's love and wife)?

My memories of her are none of your business."

Problem is, he is our hero and his love, ultimately, and we want *some* details of how they lived together status post saving the world.

Whether intentional or not, I don't think Ms. May's choice to undercut the heroism of her characters (e.g. Ullanoth's self-sacrifice) works well for the story. If Ms. May is trying to say how too many heroes go unnoticed in saving the world, I think she should have made it a bit more obvious, if only by lettign us get to know them first, before they die.

Still it kept me interested, the pages kept turning, and I finished in a fairly short amount of time (if I am still reading a book at 3 months unfinished, then it's not keeping my interest enough to read more than 3-4 pages at a time).
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