In a world inhabited by the Avatars, blue-haired men and women who live like they are gods, and the races they’ve enslaved, all is not well. After a huge natural disaster, much of the world is now covered in ice and the longevity crystals of the Avatars are slowly dying. Their powers sources almost spent, their status as gods is threatened. They are losing their grip on the tribes and the Vagars – who are secretly planning a rebellion – and an even greater enemy is due to arrive. The Almecs. The crystal-joined warriors. The butchers of thousands, all to feed their Crystal Queen. The days of the Avatars are over.
I have read quite a lot of books of Gemmell these past few weeks (and totally neglected to review them) and they all reminded me of my admiration and affinity for this writer. I just simple love David Gemmell! His books always surprise me – even though they are all Heroic Fantasy, and I have still to stumble upon a bad book of his.
What I also specifically love, is that most of his books are connected, either by the ethnicity/nationality (Drenai, Naashanite, Rigante, Nadir, Chiatze) or through their belief – or disbelieve – in the source. Even in Echoes of the Great Song, which deals with a completely different world, the Source is still present. Or at least, believers in the Source.
There were a lot of interesting characters in this book, the most intriguing were Talaban, an Avatar warrior who lost his wife after she became crystal-wed, Touch-The-Moon, a savage from the Anajo people and Talaban’s servant and friend and Viruk, Talaban’s cousin and crazed killer.
Viruk doesn’t seem like a very likeable character, and he isn’t, but for some reason I took to him. He was – because of his schizophrenia and yet his gentle nature when it came to gardening. And his straightforwardness also appealed to me (when he wasn’t murdering people). Talaban is the typical hero of the story – giving his all and his life to save his world, even though the Avatars would be no more. His friendship with Touch-The-Moon, who he knows as Touchstone, and the Vagars also made him dear to me. He never saw them as sub humans like the other Avatars, but as people. And Touchstone himself, a savage from a tribe we actually don’t know much about, who only longs for his wife.
Gemmell delivered another masterpiece with this one: the way he portrays the relations between the Avatar and the other people and how he basically shows their reflection in the Almecs. Only, the Almecs were evil as was the Crystal Queen and I don’t think the Avatars would ever consider themselves evil.