A Blackbird in Darkness Paperback – 1 Feb 1988
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From the Author
Dont you love it? The brooding anti-hero, the gentle race forced to fight for survival, the woman of mystery. Warriors, sorcerers, demons, weird dimensions. Horses and swords! The perfect, ultimate, impossible Quest.
Its hard to believe that its almost exactly thirty years since, as a schoolgirl, I sat down and wrote the first lines of A Blackbird in Silver. It wasnt the first novel Id started by any means, but it was the first one I actually managed to finish. That was because the image that first inspired me was the climax of the story. I kept going because I was always working towards that goal.
I loved Joy Chant, Michael Moorcock, Tanith Lee, and most of Tolkien especially the portentous bits, the more high-flown and elvish the better! I was and still am severely allergic to dwarves, trolls, stable-boy kings and tweeness in general. I wanted to write something dark, something that really mattered at least to me.
A Blackbird in Silver and A Blackbird in Darkness form a duet that tells one story. The novel became a two-parter due to my publisher. They suggested making it a trilogy but I didnt want to write a middle volume of padding so it became a duo, and both books should be read as one. The idea sprang from asking myself, What is the hardest thing you could possibly be required to do? Clue: its not killing the Serpent. (Youll just have to read it!) And the Serpent Mgulfn? Growing up against the background of the Cold War, with the imminent threat of nuclear annihilation from bombs or unstable reactors, the image of lands laid waste and the soulessness of it and the impossibility of stopping it all that fermenting in the murky depths of my young subconscious thats where my Serpent came from.
When I first began, my Blackbird world had a peculiar, intensely weird and brooding atmosphere that I still feel when I return to it. When I came to re-edit this Immanion press edition, I did so with a light touch. My style has changed so much that I could have ended up completely rewriting it and then it wouldnt have been the same book. Little has been altered except that Arlenmias poor put-upon maid now has a name! So, with some considered pruning, it keeps its original flavour and a certain naïve charm. Enjoy! --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
All the characters have grown and changed in different ways, naive Estarniel is more wary and less trusting of others, Ashurek is more thoughtful and understanding. And Medrian shows us some emotion!
We finally learn Medrian’s story and why she’s set out to kill the serpent, and it’s everything I’d been hoping for. She was by far my favourite character in the last book and is even more so after finding out about her life.
I like all the rest of the characters too, even the side characters are flawed and complicated. None of them are completely good or evil and they all have their own reasons for what they’re doing, beyond ‘we need to save the world!’ or ‘we need to destroy the world’.
Especially Arlenminia who worships the serpent like it’s a god. She is convinced that the pain and suffering it brings is for the eventual good of humanity and refuses to listen to anyone who says anything against it. Scary for how realistic this is.
Not even the serpent is not completely evil, we see a very human side to its emotions. Scared and confused, he was attacked and injured by the Guardians and now he can only think of revenge.
The writing is simple but very readable, and I love the use of colours in the way the world is described.
The story does get a bit cheesy at times, but it’s a fantasy written in the 80’s and what seemed fresh then can be a bit cliche today.
I really enjoyed this book, and while I’m not sure I liked the conclusion to the story, I do think that it’s a good ending.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
three allies must journey by a strange ship, to gain a weapon of power,
The Silver Staff. Such aid may prove to be almost as problematic as the
enemy that it is ultimately to be used against, though. These leads to
some hard and desperate choices being made.