cover image The Third God

The Third God

Ricardo Pinto, . . Bantam Press, $29.95 (519pp) ISBN 978-0-593-05051-4

This concluding volume in Pinto's debut trilogy (after 2003's The Standing Dead ) continues the life story of Carnelian Suth as he and his lover, Osidian, leave their exile in the barbarian lands of the Earthsky and race toward an apocalyptic confrontation with the God Emperor in Osrakum. Never using one word when three will do, Pinto evokes a vaguely West Asian mystique amid the tale of the decline of an imperial oligarchy. The narrative, however, gets lost in its own heft, leaving the reader struggling to keep track of characters, understand created words and hunt for shreds of plot. Powerful themes of love and loss dominate Carnelian's tale, but deadpan delivery, a myopic focus on one character, repetitious introspection and lengthy exposition turn a potentially gripping story into a snooze. (Dec.)