One of the signs of a great writer is the ability to write something totally different from what you are familar with.Lustbader the man who wrote so thrilling Nicholas Linnear ninja books returns to fantasy in this lavish epic fantasy series called the Pearl. He takes us to the world of Kundalan where it's inhabitants have been enslaved for over a century by the brutal offworld empire of the V'ornn.The Kundalan people who use traditional sorcery and religion see their society undermined from within by evil forces who seek to stop their use of magic.The only hope they have is prophecy of a messiah, The Dar Sala-at who is the only person who can wield the magic powerful enough to save their world! I was totally immersed in this epic saga! Lustbader's world-building skills are tremendous as he takes you step by step into his wondrous world in a story that is equal parts Dune and Wheel of Time.You will watch as scenes of machivellian intrigues among the ruling V'ornn and religious Kundalann people as betrayal and treachery are the norms of this war-torn planet.And you will be shocked by the sinister powers of Gyrgon, the mysterious rulers of the V'ornn. The characters come alive on through the pages of the epic saga:the twin sisters, Giyan and Batta who's destinies with the Dar Sala-at will put them at odds with each other.Eleusis Ashera, the kind-hearted V'ornn regent who's forward thinking policies for the planet seals his doom.The evil Wennn Stogggul, Ashera's most hated rival on the planet. And last but not least, Annon Ashera, Eleusis son, who's transformation will will decide the fate of this world!
This report prepared by Rodney Powell
Tor, May 2001, 27.95, 576 pp.
Over a century ago, the vicious V'ornn conquered the peaceful Kundala as the military superiority and the amoral ability to kill overwhelmed the more spiritual people. Brutally enslaved by their conquerors, the Kundala cannot understand why the Goddess Miina abandoned them. The younger Kundala are leaving the ancient beliefs for a new religion as the V'ornn force their culture on the losers with little counter absorption.
Unlike their drones, the V'ornn leadership covet whatever is hidden inside the Kundalan Storehouse where they expect all sorts of sorcery secrets to be found, including eternal life. However they need to find the RING OF FIVE DRAGONS to open the door to the mystical storehouse. If they succeed, will the V'ornn obtain their desires, will they set in motion a doomsday scenario destroying everyone, or will they inadvertently begin the fulfilling of a prophecy that forecasts a Kundalan freedom fighter leading a resistance?
When the RING OF FIVE DRAGONS concentrates on the social interactions and upheavals between the two distinct societies, the novel is a superior fantasy tale. That part of the story line is incredibly insightful as it feels like the German blitzkrieg of Europe, especially when the bellicose V'ornn impact the culture of the pastoral Kundalan. When the story line returns to traditional epic fantasy, it retains its high level of quality and remains a fun to read adventure, but the plot is not any different from some of the other well-written genre tales. Eric Van Lustbader has written a fabulous book that fantasy readers will find entertaining and insightful, but could have been a cultural milestone if it stayed the interrelationship course.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner