Seventh Decimate

Stephen R. Donaldson. Berkley, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-399-58613-2
Donaldson (the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series) opens his unremarkable epic fantasy novel, first of a trilogy, with a never-ending war. The countries of Belleger and Amika have fought so long that everyone has forgotten the cause of their enmity. Both sides have sorcerers who cause massive carnage on the battlefield with one of the six rather clichéd powers called Decimates, but Belleger may have eked out an advantage with the advent of the also-rather-clichéd new technology of rifles—until suddenly, sorcery no longer works in Belleger. Certain that Amika is responsible, Prince Bifalt of Belleger goes on a quest to find the rumored seventh Decimate in order to destroy Amika entirely, but the world he ventures into is, of course, larger than he knows or can understand. Donaldson’s plot elements and characters are familiar, but his handling of them is stark, stripped almost down to allegory, which brings a little novelty into the otherwise overused scenes but also leads to flat characters and repetitive moments of moral reflection. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/21/2017
Release date: 11/14/2017
Ebook - 978-0-399-58614-9
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