Star of Cursrah (Forgotten Realms) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Feb 1999
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Powerful forces guard a recently discovered buried city.
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Star of Cursrah is the third in a series of four novels (known as the Lost Empires series and which includes The Lost Library of Cormanthyr, Faces of Deception, and the Nether Scroll) that deal with the secrets of four of Toril's long lost ancient civilizations.
The plot is simply enticing! Clayton Emery does a wonderful job of presenting essential knowledge relevant to Faerun, including customs, religion, and the history of the peoples of Toril e.g. the depiction of the extinct rhinaur and manscorpion was great as was the in-depth look into the local cuisine (pp.105-106), not to mention Cursrah's social structure (p.138) and the breathtaking description of the city, which read like a history book (Chapter 4). Moreover, Clayton Emery describes Calim's Scepter and its effects (pp.179-182) superbly as was the description of the vizars (the necromantic priests) (pp.71-73) and the marid Bitrabi (p.212). There was also the interesting mention of "Khises, the half man, half hippo hero," (p.229) and the now dead gods, Anachtyr (p.291) and Ibrandul, Father of all Lizards (pp.229 and 257).
In addition, the author does an excellent job on pages 259-261 of describing the act of looting and pillaging, while on pages 286-296 he provides a detailed description of the mummification process.
Furthermore, the author is on the ball with the following quotes which point directly at what international relations students and scholars call Realism and which is very Machiavellian in nature:
1) "This is life in the wilds, where you live by wits and claw." (p.171)
2) "...war is an extreme arm of politics." (p.173)
3) "He cared for his troops and his city. He didn't hate his enemies, even spoke well of Zubat and Samir Nagid. Under different circumstances, Pallaton would work hard to keep peace as make war." (p.176)
4) "Many of our men are green. My army needs an orgy of murder and looting to harden their hearts. Oxonsis must destroy Cursrah utterly. Only by dealing out cruelty can they learn to be as hard, as ruthless as the coming months will require each of them to be." (p.259)
Finally, the author provides for great dramatic effect with the following phrase stealing the show: "A sizzling bolt scorched the air and struck the hilltop square on the chief vizar and his pilfered scepter. Watchers grunted in sympathy as the priest and his acolytes exploded into charred gobbets of flesh that rained far out over the rocks and splashed into the churning river." (p.183)
In conclusion, Star of Cursrah is a jewel of a book as far as Fantasy and Forgotten Realms novels are concerned and subsequently, it constitutes an asset to the genre.