THE SHADES OF TIME AND MEMORY: The Second Book of the Wraeththu Histories

Storm Constantine, Author . Tor $27.95 (448p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0347-9

No one navigates "the web of the wyrd" quite the way British author Constantine (The Wraiths of Will and Pleasure ) does, as shown in volume two of her second fantasy trilogy about the conflicts within a warring hermaphrodite race, the Wraeththu, who've supplanted humans as the dominant species on Earth. Told in a lyrical, distant third-person voice, the erotic and sometimes hypnotic histories of Pellaz har Aralis, aka the Tigron (or ruler) of the land of the Gelaming, and other exotic characters unfold in a complex, at times ponderous plot that requires familiarity with previous installments to savor fully. In a key twist, Pellaz, with the aid of lovers Caeru and Calanthe creates a mystical pearl (or harling). Diablo, an agent of exiled Varr tribal leader Ponclast, later steals the pearl, which Ponclast wants to use to usurp the Tigron's power. The landscape, evocative of Mayan or Egyptian ruins ("a warm country that seethes with ancient spirits and capricious gods"), makes a great backdrop for characters struggling for love and transformation. Constantine fans should be pleased, but first-time readers might wish for a better introduction than the brief one here as well as a glossary for the often intricate language. Agent, Howard Morhaim. (Nov. 2)

Reviewed on: 10/25/2004
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-9545036-6-6
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-7653-0350-9
Ebook - 448 pages - 978-1-4299-7236-9
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