A good fantasy series is hard to find; a great one an outright rarity. Rare, perhaps, but certainly not impossible to find. George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series is one. Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law is another. And now, with the publication of the second book in his Acacia trilogy, author David Anthony Durham can lay claim to the mantle as well. The Other Lands picks up where The War with the Mein left off. The war has ended, Hanish Mein is dead, and our various players have settled down to an uneasy peace. Queen Corinn now rules the land with the help of her surviving siblings – Mena, the warrior princess, and Dariel, the former pirate turned unlikely diplomat. But complicating matters for the new Acacian ruler are a restless populace, suspect allies, and an abhorrent treaty, in place for generations, that has seen the empire ship thousands of young children to an unknown fate at the hands of the mysterious foreigners known as the Lothan Aklun.
Like the first book in the series, the narrative hopscotches between the various players be it Mena and her fellow warriors charged with the task of ridding their homeland of fearsome abominations, the young Dariel discovering deception and death on his first diplomatic foray, or Corinn dealing with the mounting threat from within the Acacian borders. And there are other throughlines as well – the machinations of the seafaring mercenaries known as The League, the hidden agenda of the brutish Numrek, the maneuverings of the enigmatic Santoth, and, most shocking of all, the rise of a far greater enemy – each offering a different piece to a fast-developing narrative puzzle.
Intrigue, action, and surprises abound. Established characters are re-discovered and further explored while new, equally colorful players are introduced (my favorite being the plotting Delivegu, Queen’s mercenary). It all makes for a thoroughly absorbing and thrilling read and, while The Other Lands lacks The War with the Mein’s stand-alone unity, the stunning developments at novel’s end have me eagerly awaiting this epic’s third and final chapter.
Stargate: Universe second season episode titles…
My intensive new workout regimen is yielding definite results. For example, my last routine resulted in intense shoulder pain and various pulls, strains, and possible tears. Yes, I’m definitely “feeling the burn”. Also shooting pains and a dull, throbbing ache. There’s got to be a better way of getting in shape. Short of not eating as much.
I’ve not only fallen behind in my reading, but my t.v./movie-watching as well. On my ever-growing viewing list:
Evangelion : 1.01 – You Are Not Alone, Howl’s Moving Castle, Origin, Kite: Liberator, My Neighbor Totoro, A Tree of Palme, Whisper of the Heart, Only Yesterday, Patlabor WXIII
District 9, Thirst
Breaking Bad (season one), Lost (seasons 3-5), MI-5/Spooks (seasons 4-6), Sons of Anarchy (season one), Tudors (season 3), Wire in the Blood (seasons 4 and 5).
Anything I’ve missed? Anything I SHOULD miss?
Alexander of Houston writes: “I have started Culinary School, when I graduate and if I decided to open my own restaurant, would you dine there?”
Answer: Of course! What are you making me?
Susan the Tartan Turtle writes: “When is Brie moving out? Lulu will miss her.”
Answer: We’ll all miss little Brie. Annoying little Brie. She’ll be heading east in the coming weeks.
Tanie writes: “How is the ’script from hell’ going?”
Answer: Fabulous. I haven’t touched it since receiving notes last week.
Flagitious writes: “3. Two part question:
a.) Do gates have a set phone number in relation to where they are originally placed? Like a cellphone, you get an area-code, so no matter where you are, people can connect to your phone.
b.) If that is the case, how do gates take on the addresses of planets they are near, or on, and how did the gate bridge actually work in the void between galaxies?”
Answer: Gate addresses are location-based, which is why you have a dominant gate taking precedence over a lesser gate when they are in relatively close proximity (ie. Solitudes). Creating the gate bridge required Earth to gather gates from both galaxies (Pegasus and Milky Way) and reprogram them in a way that allowed them to direct-dial one another once the initial gate was activated. In other words, only one address is dialed and the message is forwarded through the link to its eventual destination – the midway station.
4. Three part question:a.) Does Destiny’s gate physically have a limited range?
b.) Is Destiny’s gate range a power issue?
c.) Is Destiny’s gate locked out of some gates, and it’s range purposely limited by a computer program?”
Answer: yes, Destiny’s gate does have a limited range (as opposed to the far greater range of the Milky Way and Pegasus gates). This is why, often, only a handful of planets are within range when the ship drops out of FTL. Although we have yet to officially establish why this is so, it stands to reason that it is a power issue rather than any programmed attempt to limit gate access.