on 20 November 2006
This volume starts abruptly where the previous volume finished. I struggled to remember all the characters (a synopsis would have helped) but I soon found myself immersed and gripped.
The tensions are excellent, with the main characters partly driven by events but occasionally finding themselves directing them. I also enjoyed the developing religious strands, from mystic to revivalist and the struggles the characters have with their own doubts and anger towards God.
I am looking forward to the next volume.
on 22 February 2010
I bought the first 3 books in this series from Oxfam. The good part is that the money I spent will go to help a worthy cause of some sort, the bad part is that I'm stuck with these books. I ploughed my way through the first book and I'm now about 2/3 of my way through this book. Initially I really enjoyed the premise of the series but I found the book long winded and the action very slow. The description of the environment is very detailed, which is good but it does get boring and I found myself skipping whole paragraphs hoping to 'get on with it'. I think that on the whole the characters are poorly realised and one dimensional, this makes their actions seem random and unbelievable and unfortunately I have no empathy for them. I definately prefer to have a more character driven novel. I'm afraid that I cannot recommend this book or the series as I have read it so far, not good at all. Sorry!
on 19 October 2009
First of all, this is in essence a positive review. I really enjoy this and the previous book in the trilogy, and Russell's writing style. However, I came across something that struck me as a bit odd while reading "In the earth abides the flame", and would like to share in the hope that others might shed some light on this, or maybe even Russell himself could respond. I hope I'm not giving too many spoilers here, I'll try not give away anything that is revealing of the storyline itself.
In "Across the face of the world" we are presented with the character of Phemanderac, the philosopher. Since the initial meeting of him and Leith, in the cell of the Widuz, we get the sense that Phemanderac is a man who chooses his words very carefully, and is very articulate. However, when he discovers the 5 books, and the parchment baring the riddle of the Jugom Ark, he has a slip of the tongue, and makes an error that can either be an editorial error (someone didn't notice the mistake, author, editor, proof readers, etc.) or a temporary jump out of character for Phemanderac.
The slip of tongue, as I see it, is in a quotation Phemanderac makes of the riddle on the parchment. The riddle itself has two verses, and the first one ends with the words "Making nations whole again." Phemanderac, trying to explain the meaning to the archivist with whom the discovery of the 5 books was made, while still holding the parchment in his hands, quotes the line as follows: "Making peoples whole again." (ch.3-ItEAtF.) Not careful with the quotation of such an important discovery, while still holding the parchment in his hands? I find that odd.
Although a jump out of character for Phemanderac may be acceptable, especially within the given scene, and Phemanderac's obvious and unhidden excitement over the discovery, I tend to think that this is just an editorial error. I'll explain why: later in the same scene Phemanderac regains his articulate nature, and convinces the archivist to allow him to make a copy of the riddle.
If anyone else noticed this, and has some insight, or if by mere chance Russell becomes aware of this question, please do not hesitate to respond with your thoughts on the matter.
Thank you for reading my comment, Liad Weinberger.
on 10 July 2009
After the initial questing stuff of the first book in the trilogy, 'Abides the Flame' takes its foot off the pedal a little at the start, with all the intrigue in the city of Instruere. In other fantasy books, the hero would just have to appear on a plinth and wave his magic arrow around... and everyone would drop tools and rush to join him. Not so here. People react the way people normally react. They're suspicious and just want to get on with their lives. Grandstand showing of power is met with tired reluctance and fear. Factions change, people alter allegiances and good guys become bad guys. Then of course our little band scurries down south to retrieve the arrow and save the world..... only that it's not that simple.... the main hero (Leith) hasn't a clue what to do with the arrow once he's found it and the rest of his party return to Instruere thinking the quest has failed...... Lovely and clever twist to a familiar theme. I loved the intrigues and the way RK isn't afraid to drop characters and take up new ones.
Give this triology a go... if you want something which is truly different. Sad that some of these reviewers have 'panned' this trilogy so much. Probably a bit too subtle for their tastes....
on 27 May 2007
I did on the whole enjoy the first in this series, there were bits that i thought could improve but it was full of enough promise that i shelled out for the next two in the series. i regret that now. Unlike fantasy series like Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time", which also had a so-so start, this did not improve it got worse.
The quality of the writing is less than before, it seems unorganised and at times illogical. Characters act strangely, and we are provided with no understandable reasons for thier actions. I am all for novels breaking the conventions of thier genre, but there has to be an understandable reason for characters to do so. Plot wise it takes forever for the quest to leave Innstruere, there is no reason for all of the company to stay especialy since in the end they do not all stay. This means that a section like the passage through the Mist, which is a high point of the novel, is too short and it's potential not fully realised. What was the strength of the first novel, the landscape through which the group pass, is now so isolated from the narrative that it is silly. The landscape of the world has in some way to be supported by a well wrtten story with some character development, that does not happen here.