Good Reading : June 2016
GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING JUNE 2016 44 SCI-FI / FANTASY WOM word of mouth RATINGS ★ ★ ★★ ★★ ★★★ ★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★ ★★★★★ RG Age of Scorpio 3: The Beauty of Destruction Gavin Smith This trilogy requires an intense commitment from the reader; it’s really a single story arc notionally split across three books. Descr ibing the final book in isolation is like trying to picture the Mona Lisa when all you can see is her nose. Each book is set during three separate eras and moves regularly back and forth between them. This can be frustrating, but each of these three plot strands – past (ancient Britain), present (a slightly twisted modern-day Britain) and future (far away from Earth in Deep Space) – while seemingly separate storylines, also have multiple complex layers of narrative. It doesn’t take long before you start playing spot-the-same-character (but evolved and somewhat different) across each storyline. This not only engages your interest, in what could be a confusing read, but also allows you to visualise the continuity of the story threads across the three timelines. Smith also populates the tale with creatures from nightmares (both religious and technological) and fills it with intense violence, wry humour and strong, well fleshed-out characters. There’s not a lot of happiness and light here, but if you’re looking for an intense sci-fi adventure read that leaves you wondering what just happened, the ‘Age of Scorpio’ trilogy delivers. ★★★★ Gollancz $32.99 Reviewed by Brooke Walker Children of Earth and Sky Guy Gavriel Kay The great empire of Sarantium has long fallen, its capital city ruled by the iron-fisted Grand Khalif for 25 years. On the edge of this world, where the borders of old empires overlap, a young woman named Danica travels with a raiding party of Senjani sailors. They are seeking revenge against the Dubravan traders and Seressan Council of Twelve, who abandoned them in the face of the Khalif ’s oncoming Asharite forces. The Asharites are burning villages to secure their borders and take Senjani boys to press into service as the elite djannis, the strong sword of the Khalif in his holy war against the west. In the sparkling city of Seressa, the Council of Twelve have their own plans. Leonora Valer i, a victim of circumstance, is forced to spy on their behalf, feeding information back to them to use for financial and political gain. At the same time, arrangements have been made for young artist Pero Villani to travel east to meet the Grand Khalif, who has requested a portrait. Villani, already nervous at the prospect of such a commission, falters when they ask him to use his proximity to the Khalif to change the course of history by assassinating him in his throne room. As the world turns once more to war, lives and journeys cross paths when the Dubravan trader Marin Djivo has his ship boarded by Senjani raiders. His cargo taken, his passengers threatened and ransomed, he has little recourse but to help right the wrongs of the past. This chance meeting on the seas is where lines are drawn, sides are chosen and history will be rewr itten by the people who usually live on the edges of world events, as their daily lives become the stuff of legends. Sweeping in its scope, this book is a return to Kay’s Mediterranean-influenced world. Mirror ing the social, cultural, political and religious turmoil of the Renaissance, the novel draws together the stor ies of small lives that change their world. The story crafts beautifully rendered lands populated with engaging personalities whose stories tie us to their lives until the last page. ★★★★★ Hodder & Stoughton $32.99 Reviewed by David Johnson a commission, falters when they ask him to use his proximity to the Khalif to change the course of history by assassinating him in his throne room. war, lives and journeys cross paths when the Dubravan trader Marin Djivo has his ship boarded by Senjani raiders. His cargo taken, his passengers Age of Scorpio 3: The Beauty of Destruction Gavin Smith Tthe reader; it’s really a single story arc notionally split across three books.