The Ea Cycle series by David Zindell is comprised of the following books:
- The Lightstone: The Ninth Kingdom
- The Lightstone: The Silver Sword
- The Lord of Lies
- Black Jade
- The Diamond Warriors
Valashu Elahad is the seventh son of the King of Mesh, one of the nine kingdoms of the Valari warriors. But unlike many of his kin, he aims to be a warrior of the soul instead of the sword and abhors war. So when he is asked to join in the quest to find the fabled Lightstone – that wonderful gelstei that will make men more than men and bring the people of Ea to an Age of light and love and wonder – he jumps at the opportunity. After all, why wouldn’t he try to go after the one thing that will stop Morjin, the Red Dragon of Sakai, who himself is more than a man, from obtaining the ultimate power? But little does Valashu know, and little do his companions know, of the fate of the world and their own. And of the fate of the Maitraya, the Shining One.
I simply love this series. On wikipedia it’s described as a series of sword-and-sorcery with the theme of the evolution of consciousness. I say they should have added the word ‘epic’ to it, because the story itself is of epic proportions. Not only Mesh, but all of the Valari kingdoms, and in turn all the other kingdoms and countries Ea is made up of, play an enormous part in the books. Valashu’s companions too, come from all over Ea and even from other worlds.
I was very interested in the gelstei – different stones and crystals with magical uses – and how they came about. In the series it is made clear how they all work and what people need to fear from them, but it was never really said how they came to be. Did they originate from Ea? Or from the other worlds? I would’ve loved to learn more about them.
Another theme that plays a big role in these books, is fate. Whether you can fight it, or make your own. In some cases it seems like people are being pushed towards their fate, and in some instances it seems like they take up their sword and carve their own. War is another theme of the books. Valashu hates war and yet he seems doomed to fight and fight and fight again. He hates killing and yet to protect the Lightstone and the Maitraya, he has no choice but to kill.
A lot of the characters struggle with the difference between good and evil and having to do evil things for the greater good. One of these is Kane, who was once Kalkin, a great king of men who became more than a man. He became an Elijin – a being not unlike an angel, without the wings or power to create. His journey, his rise and his fall and then his struggle to maintain faith in The One, is what was most intriguing to me. The other higher orders as well: the Galadin, the Ieldra and of course The One.
But so were all of the other characters as well: Atara, Liljana, Maram, Daj, Estrella, Alphanderry, Master Juwain, Sajagax, Ymiru, Bemossed and all the others. They were all so well-rounded and they all had battles of their own to fight. Especially Maram, a prince from Delu and Valashu’s closest friend, who is afraid of everything, and yet does the most courageous of things, surprising himself again and again. All characters in the books have their own background and stories to tell and though they are many, none of them is unnecessary.
There is so much more to tell, but you can find out about all of that on your own.