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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty fantasy under Old Sun, 28 Nov 2010
John Middleton (Brisbane, QLD, AUST) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Book of Skaith Volume 1: The Ginger Star (Planet Stories Library) (Paperback)
The Ginger Star is the first book in the Skaith trilogy, covering the further adventures of Eric John Stark after Secret of Sinharat/People of the Talisman. Stark now finds himself on a barren world orbiting a failing star, searching for his foster father. There has been a prophecy made about this "dark man without a tribe" however, and so Stark is hindered in his search by those wishing him both weal and woe. Despite all this, Stark grimly continues his search, just wishing to find his father and get off-planet (possibly with a love interest at his side). But things are never easy.

Written in the 1970's, this book has echoes of the Dying Earth mileau created by Jack Vance. There is a dying world under a dimming sun, and a mixture of fantasy and science fiction which is wholly unsurprising to the characters: prophecy is real and taken (very) seriously, there are dark gods requiring human sacrifice, and fighting is done with swords, tooth and claw rather than laser pistols. But in all that there are starships and aliens, genetic manipulation and remnants of a greater civilisation fallen into decay. In fact, the crux of the story is not so much Stark's search for his father, as the response of Skaith to the arrival of spaceships in the last dozen years, and the effect this has had on social order and power structures.

This is a great book to read - the characters are lifelike, the dialogue crackles, and the story well plotted and told. Scenes are memorable - the introduction of Gerrith, the cave of the Skaith-Children, the first meeting with a Wandsman. Brackett was a great storyteller, and she created a wonderful world here to enjoy. This book should be more widely read and loved, as it is a shame that somehow the Skaith stories were lost in the epic fantasies of the 80's.
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The Book of Skaith Volume 1: The Ginger Star (Planet Stories Library)
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