The Dark Ascent

Walter H. Hunt, Author Tor Books $25.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-7653-1116-0
With its complexities of plot and character, Hunt's fast-paced space adventure, the third book in his Dark Wing series (after 2003's The Dark Path), rises above the humdrum repetitions typical of this SF subgenre. In exploring the universe in the far future, humans have fought a war with the zor race, birdlike aliens whose mental communication entails an intricate religious devotion to the legends of their hero, Qu'u, and to a lost magic sword, the gyaryu. That war is now long past. Human and zor, along with the noncombatant raskh, work together to battle a race of implacable mind-controllers, the vuhl, who can also take on other shapes and infiltrate space stations and ships as well as entire cultures, bending all to their will. Jackie Lappierre, a human who's been connected to the hsi of her dead zor friends, finds herself appointed to retrieve their sword and use its powers to confront the vuhl. Keeping track of the players--the heroes and the villains, alive and dead--is a delightful challenge. So is distinguishing the manipulated from the manipulators. The many borrowings from Zen Buddhism and Taoist philosophy, not to mention the resemblance of the zor language to the old style of transliterated Chinese, add depth and interest.
Reviewed on: 08/01/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 452 pages - 978-0-7653-4982-8
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