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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable epic
Picking up from The Standing Dead, The Third God finds Aurum, now exiled, in in the Earthsky wreaking havoc and seeking to capture Osidian to return him to Osrakum where he will meet his fate. Osidian however intends returning to Osrakum to a very different destiny, a triumphant return to claim from his usurping brother what he sees as rightfully his. Carnelian now sees...
Published on 14 April 2009 by Benjamin

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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK but not great
If I'm going to be blunt here I'm not a huge fan of Ricardo's writing. This is purely for the fact that I don't get on with his wordy descriptiveness that makes what could be briefly summed up in a few words a real struggle to keep up with. It's almost as if earlier literature values have shaped this offering and its not up to the standards expected by modern readers...
Published on 5 April 2010 by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable epic, 14 April 2009
By 
Benjamin (UK) - See all my reviews
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Picking up from The Standing Dead, The Third God finds Aurum, now exiled, in in the Earthsky wreaking havoc and seeking to capture Osidian to return him to Osrakum where he will meet his fate. Osidian however intends returning to Osrakum to a very different destiny, a triumphant return to claim from his usurping brother what he sees as rightfully his. Carnelian now sees his only way forward is to aid his former lover Osidian in his battle, his hope is to avert any reprisals by the Chosen against his beloved Plainsmen. So it is, along with Fern, Poppy and Krow and an assorted army of Plainsmen, Marula and Sartlar that Osidian and Carnelian begin their struggle to return to Osrakum. In the face of overwhelming odds, and not without a few setbacks they slowly claim one victory after another; yet they have still not encountered the defending forces of Osrakum or Molochite's scheming. Nor do they know what role the Wise will play in the outworking of events.

Driven by dreams he does not always fully understand yet feels certain foretell that they will succeed, Carnelian fights alongside Osidian. Throughout Carnelian is torn between his hope of saving those he loves and serving as Osidian's ally and accomplice in his seemingly malicious and relentless carnage. Despite all that Osidian has done it is clear he still has some affection for him, but he struggles to avoid resuming the relationship they once enjoyed, despite Fern seeming ever more distant and cold toward him, any hope of the longed for intimacy with him seeming now lost. To add to his worries Carnelian fears what effects their assault may be having on his family in Osrakum.

Despite its length, The Third God never for one moment wanes in its attention grabbing narrative; from the drama of the battles to the intimacy of relationships, from the squalor and degradation of the slaughter to the the order and grandeur of Osrakum, the fascinating minutiae and intricacy of the plot always encouraging careful reading. There is certainly much blood and gore, along with assorted other bodily fluids and excretions, through which Carnelian and the others sometimes literally have to wade; in addition to the often graphic carnage and mutilation; but as we eventually learn some of the history of The Three Lands we gain some understanding. A remarkable epic that moves relentlessly forward, there are times when the story seems on the verge of falling into a clichéd delaying diversion, but it never does, on each occasion it surprises with a new twist that advances the plot.

The characters are appealing, including the precocious young Poppy, Fern and his torment resigning himself to what seems the inevitable; Osidian despite his ruthlessness it is hard not to feel something for; and Carnelian above all, his love and compassion and selflessness; and one has to keep remind oneself that these latter two are themselves still little more than youths. Set in this vividly described imaginary world of dragons and pre-historic creatures and vegetation, and rigidly divided peoples, intelligently written, this is a most captivating and rewarding story that builds to a very satisfying conclusion, I enjoyed every word of The Third God.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An object lesson in the consequences of war, 4 Jun 2009
Third book in a series. Some series become formulaic with the same characters going over the same ground on the way to a final victory, but not this one. It is definitely one story in three parts. The first in the series is perhaps the most nearly a traditonal fantasy epic, with the unsuspecting hero growing into his role as a master of the Guarded Land and taking part in the election of the new god-emperor...before everything comes apart. The second recounts time in exile in the Earthsky where our heroes forge an army out of the barbarian tribes. This book recounts their return to the Guarded Land and final battle to recover their birthright. You probably could just about read this book as a complete story, but don't, read the others first.

So far so conventional. But this really is a barbaric land, and the Masters are truly masters of their art of inflicting suffering. The whole story is told from the perspective of Carnelian, who in the first book has to come to terms with violence, maiming and death being visited on his family and those he has grown up with, having been raised by his father in exile and thus been sheltered from the casual violence of the society he has inherited to rule. In the second, he experiences the lot of a slave, being cast out together with Osidian (who was brought up at court so is thoroughly versed in the best of Masterly sadistic intrigue) before building a following amongst the plains people, leaving a steadily growing wake of death as they go. In the third the massed armies of the guarded land, together with all the weapons of destruction the Masters could devise are brought together with predictable results of death on an even greater scale than before.

All this death and violence will be off-putting for some readers, yet it is used through Carnelian's reaction against it as a cry against the horrors of war. The rising tide of destruction is an object lesson in unforseen consequences and the risks of carelssly destroying all you hold dear through the singleminded pursuit of some goal.

Carnelian is not an uncertain hero but has to make hard choices as he tries to support yet also restrain Osidian's determination to return to power at the heart of the empire. The plot is a good fantasy epic with plenty of twists and turns, and despite all the devastation manages to maintain a thread of hope for the final resolution to the conflict. Yet it also keeps you guessing, for with so many losses along the way it is never certain which apparently central character will be next to depart for another life.

Oh, and I forgot the love story woven through it, which once again is an assertion of the triumph of fudamental humanity against impossible obstacles.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A long-anticipated pleasure. A dense and detailed world comes apart.., 24 May 2009
By 
Mr. G. Hodgson (Seytroux, France) - See all my reviews
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A long anticipated pleasure was reading this novel, as those of us following the trilogy have been waiting for it, for about 6-7 years. I had to re-read the first two books of the trilogy, and I recommend to anyone else about to pick up this tome that they do so as well.

For the twists and turns within these pages, the fragments of hinted dreams that come true, the colour and symbology, would make Machiavelli pause and rethink. The sheer amount of information means that reading this "lightly" is impossible. I found myself having to stop reading late at night, as a few moments of inattention and I would have utterly lost the plot.

In terms of the merits of the plot, it's heavy but well worth it. The epic turns of the tale again and again created open mouth "oh my goodness, that can't be true!" moments, right up to the final one in the last few chapters. That's the sign of a master story-teller there, that he can involve you in his world so completely, that the reader is genuinely surprised when the foundations of that world turn out to be different than you expected.

A very immersing book, you really don't want to come up for air when reading. So complete do you fall into it's pages that you neglect your own world while reading. Another sign of an excellent twist.

All in all, a well-written and well-conceived world portrayed believably and with great gusto. An absolute pleasure to read.

Having now said all that, I do find myself knocking it off the 5-star position to 4-stars for a couple of reasons.

Firstly I felt that the constant twisting and turning of the plot was a little fatiguing to the reader. Often quite monumental changes would occur and I would find myself re-reading a paragraph or a page to make sure I'd actually understood what just went on! This is as much a testimony to the dense and deep detail of the world as anything.

Secondly, at times I just wanted to reach into the page and punch Carnelian for letting life and others treat him as they wanted to. Blown about from pillar to post. As a protagonist, he was definitely not your archetype decision-making hero. For me, that made him a bit hard to really like. He's a hero you read about and reflect on, not a hero you want to be.

In all though, these are very minor criticisms in comparison to the grandeur of the achievement contained in winding up so epic a fantasy trilogy, and so epic a world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a long wait, 30 Nov 2009
By 
Mr. C. W. N. Barker "dark horse" (london, ENGLAND) - See all my reviews
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The Third God was long time coming after having read the first book nearly 10 years ago. Waiting for the second volume was hard but both volumes kept my interest up and i was fascinated how pinto was going to finish it off. It is a rather lugubrious book at times with painful mental visions and rather arthuresque and medieval in its brutality. Pinto's portrayal of Osrakum always remained imprinted in my mind and i was longing to get back to it. One did but with a certain amount of trepidation. the third god is an exacting read and stretches the mind to try and visualise what pinto was going through. it is not the sort of compulsive reading where you cannot put the book down but it is compulsive reading none the less. If you have read the first two volumes, how could it not be? one has waited long enough. It has to be read in segments like a slow climb up a mountain. It is a struggle of mind and sometimes you feel as if you are wading through a very deep and muddy field and being submerged and oppressed by pinto's imagery and unique prose. however, one gets there in the end (a bit like pilgrim's progress) and once you reach the end it feels not only like a yoke has been lifted from your shoulders but also you have reached the end of an era. pinto has managed to ensure that this trilogy will stand the test of time if you are a patient person and like a hard read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bold and epic conclusion, with depth and humanity, 22 Jun 2010
By 
Jason Mills "jason10801" (Accrington, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Third God (The Stone Dance Of The Chameleon) (Paperback)
Wow! At 900 pages, this one took me a couple of months, but in a good way. The closing volume of a most original fantasy trilogy, this long-awaited book had a lot to do. Having kept us waiting 7 years for this one, Pinto could have thrown us a little rope with a quick summary of the story so far: instead I spent the first 100 pages desperately trying to recall earlier details. Still, this will not be a problem for new readers coming to this remarkable trilogy.

This is a fantasy unique in many ways. For instance, there is no magic, no [verified:] gods, no separately-created races (despite appearances). The nearest thing to the supernatural is a handful of prophetic(?) dreams - more sauce than sorcery. The books depict a world in which an aristocratic elite, the Chosen, live in unthinkable splendour, supported by rigid law that routinely inflicts ceaseless brutality on everybody else. Our hero Carnelian, by an accident of upbringing, is unaccustomed to the world to which he belongs, and finds himself bound to follow the dictates of a conscience that is alien to the rest of his kind.

The most strikingly unusual feature of these books for me is that the 'problem' to be solved is unnassailably vast. It is not a simple matter of destroying a ring, swapping to the right king, or defeating a dark lord in a final battle: rather, the entire structure of society is rotted through, and it seemed impossible that this third volume could get the job done without massive catastrophe and all hell breaking loose.

So, what ingenious solution did Pinto have up his sleeve? Massive catastrophe and all hell breaking loose! Carnelian and his ruthless ex-lover Osidian (the gay content is another novelty) head back to Osrakum, pushing a wave of destruction before them, equally responsible despite their wildly differing motives. This huge book is a relentless crescendo, in which Pinto constantly ups the ante of spectacle and atrocity - all this in a graceful prose that is exotic without drawing attention to itself:

---------------
"Welcome, Celestial," said Labyrinth's homunculus. "We have brought the means by which you shall be cleansed of the taint of the outer world."

It seemed to Carnelian it would take more than unguents to do that.
---------------

And at the end of this journey, even as a new balance seems to have been achieved, the inescapable consequences of both action and history produce an extraordinary outcome, packed with startling revelations.

This turns out to be a moral fable of a high order, refreshing both in its imagination and its sense of purpose. Where can Pinto go from here? I look forward to finding out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful ending of the series., 5 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Third God (The Stone Dance Of The Chameleon) (Paperback)
The Third God (The Stone Dance Of The Chameleon) by Ricardo Pinto

Very well written. Original, unique story. Wonderful ending of the series.
Interesting heroes.
Great description of an intricately detailed world.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK but not great, 5 April 2010
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Third God (The Stone Dance Of The Chameleon) (Paperback)
If I'm going to be blunt here I'm not a huge fan of Ricardo's writing. This is purely for the fact that I don't get on with his wordy descriptiveness that makes what could be briefly summed up in a few words a real struggle to keep up with. It's almost as if earlier literature values have shaped this offering and its not up to the standards expected by modern readers. With this his third outing in the series I feel that I've had a really hard time with this trilogy and to be blunt, will be quite happy to see the back of it.

Mind you, that said, were you to hack the descriptiveness apart then its not a bad title although one thing that may well infuriate you is the lack of a glossary that explains characters, places etc which was a damn useful tool in the previous titles. Personally I wouldn't advise reading this without having read the previous two novels but if you feel that you want to try this title despite its faults then you can get a synopsis of the previous novels over at Ricardo's home on the web.
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The Third God (The Stone Dance Of The Chameleon)
The Third God (The Stone Dance Of The Chameleon) by Ricardo Pinto (Paperback - 4 Mar 2010)
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