THE CROWN OF SILENCE

Storm Constantine, Author THE CROWN OF SILENCE Storm Co $27.95 (432p) ISBN 978-0-312-87329-5

In this second book of her Chronicles of Magravandias trilogy, featuring rites of passage, rituals and alternative sexualities used as everyday occurrences of statecraft, British author Constantine (the Wraeththu trilogy) has created a patchwork with no real unity of action, plot or perspective. At the start, soldiers of the invading Magravand, introduced in the first book, brutalize Shan, a young peasant boy. Shan is rescued by a half-human, half-mage, Taropat (aka Khaster), whose lover had earlier suffered a similar fate, and this dark past becomes both a training ground and a flaw in their relationship as Taropat transforms Shan into a worthy assistant. With the Magravand and its vassal kingdoms as background to their adventures, Shan, Taropot the mage and his human host, Khaster, among others, prepare for a quest to recover the Crown of Silence and unseat the Magravand king. Viewpoints shift with no apparent consistency. Each protagonist is "honed in the fires of experience" by homosexual rape, systematic torture or beatings. The tale eventually moves on to a ritual quest to seven lakes, where each quester undergoes a routine of self-discovery marked by tricks and clichés rather than any growth in spirit or knowledge. A successful quest story rests on the uniqueness of its politics, moral questions or characters. This novel falls short of the ideal. Nevertheless, this series is technically superior to most contemporary fantasy series and will be of interest to those who wish to read about politics and sex or who are Constantine fans. (Mar. 14)

Reviewed on: 03/05/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 432 pages - 978-1-4299-7233-8
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-312-87365-3
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