cover image The Mountains of Majipoor

The Mountains of Majipoor

Robert Silverberg. Spectra Books, $19.95 (225pp) ISBN 978-0-553-09614-9

Silverberg's fourth Majipoor book--his first in over 10 years--is, like the second novel in this popular fantasy series, Majipoor Chronicles, a bildungsroman. Set five centuries after the events in book three, Valentine Pontifex, it details the adventures of Prince Harpirias, a young bureaucrat exiled from Castle Mount when he commits an unintentional indiscretion during a hunting expedition. The prince is given a chance to redeem himself by rescuing a group of scientists who have been taken captive by a previously undiscovered, less technologically advanced people whom Harpirias considers ``savages.'' Aided by a Shapeshifter and several others, Harpirias makes several discoveries that startle him much more than they will the reader. While there are moments here that recall the glorious descriptive passages displayed earlier in the series, these are infrequent, and sadder still is the author's apparent lack of interest in his characters. Hissune in Majipoor Chronicles and Valentine himself were living creations, but Harpirias and the Shapeshifter seem less full-fledged characters than elements tailored to further the plot. While fans may be grateful for any return to Majipoor, this shadow of a novel doesn't provide the journey they might have hoped for. (Feb.)