Book 1 of Shadow Gods Saga, the book that started the incredible epic!
The Four Suns, a backwater system in the Deklan Oligarchy, hides a sinister plot to destabilize the Serrll Combine.
Terrllss-rr, a Second Scout in the Serrll Combine Scout Fleet, is assigned as an aide to an Envoy sent to Elexi, the capital world of the Four Suns, by the Serrll government to investigate allegations of slavery on Anulus.
The Envoy is not there to find evidence to compromise Kapel Pen’s government, but to discover why she has allowed Kunoid Minerals—a company controlled by the Karkan Federation—to extensively mine Anulus. This could destabilize the Serrll metals market and the Serrll government on Captal.
Alasi, a beggar boy on Elexi, sees his family taken into captivity by local priesthood guards. Taking freehold families has become common practice to fuel Anulus’ labor needs. He is tracked down, captured and sold to a slave factor. Terr ends up buying Alasi as proof of illegal slavery, which he thinks the Envoy will be able to use against Kapel.
During a survey of Anulus, Terr’s ship is attacked and he is forced to flee. The pursuing ships catch up with him over Anar’on, the desert world of the fabled nomad Wanderers. His survival blister crashes in the deep desert and he undertakes a trek toward an escarpment in the hope of locating water. The Wanderers find him delirious and dying, and bring him to their village.
Although physically recovered, Terr’s mind is still somewhere in the deep desert. Dharaklin, a young Wanderer on leave from the Fleet, enters Terr’s mind in an attempt to return him to sanity. An adept of the Discipline, Dhar leaves Terr a latency of a terrible power.
Terr partially recovers, but remembers nothing of his past. An old Wanderer takes it on himself to instruct him in the life of a Saddish-aa Wanderer. To regain his memory, Terr is forced to confront the gods of Death, and comes away with more than his memory. He returns to Elexi for a final confrontation with Kapel Pen, forcing him to use his power over Death.
All that really need be said about this novel is this: it’s simply gorgeous.
A shining light of a book, with bright writing, brilliant dialogue, compelling characterization and evocative description. It is what so much science fiction tries to be but fails.
If you enjoy the wheeling and dealing of intergalactic politics, spiced heavily with betrayal and intrigue, you will enjoy this story.
In the Shadow of Death is a great book with marvellous descriptions, characters and plot structure.