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| ISBN-13: 9780553586688
| Genre: Science Fantasy
| Content: Hero, Adventure, 16+
| Publisher: Spectra; Reprint edition (March 30, 2004)
| US Cover Illustrations: John Taylor Dismukes
| Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
| Source: Personal copy
| Read an Extract
| Rating: 5 Stars
Ranadon is a volatile planet with two suns. Tidal waves and earthquakes are normal occurrences and volcanoes erupt on a regular basis. And yet, by the will of the Goddess, the people here manage not only to survive but prosper. That is until one of the suns vanishes, plugging the world into chaos. With the survival of two countries on the line, answers are sought and power is gained in the seeking.
Three acolytes go in search for answers to the Age of Shadows. Thinking their Goddess is displeased they believe the answer lies in finding a way to appease her. What they find however is that science, not religion has the answers they seek. Two of the acolytes, Belagren and Ella, see a chance to seize ultimate power so they concoct a lie to end all lies. Claiming that Belagren has received a vision they create a ritual which requires the sacrifice of the Lion of Senet's newborn son. By knowing the exact time the second sun will reappear and timing the ritual exactly, Belagren gains both ultimate power over worship of the Goddess and the ear of the Lion himself. The third acolyte, Nevis, has second thoughts about the deception and commits suicide, or so it is believed. His death leaves Belagren with a big problem. Without his mathematical talents she has no way to predict the next Age of Shadows and runs the risk of losing all she has worked for.
Meanwhile Dhevyn, a country of islands, its people starving, its resources almost gone appeals to Senet for help. But the price of that help comes dear. Senet agrees to help the people of Dhevyn, but at the cost of their freedom to rule themselves. King Johan Thorn of Deyvn refuses to believe that the Goddess would ever rquire the sacrifice of a human life and speaks out, only to lose his throne and almost his life in the process. The Lion of Senet puts Johan's sister on the Dhevyn throne and takes her daughter as hostage against her good behavior but the struggle for independence goes on. This tale is about that struggle.
This is a wonderful story filled with wonderful characters and a well crafted world. Religious manipulation and political intrigue fill the pages along with villains you can't help but hate and victims you can't help but sympathize with. Dirk, second son of the Duke of Elcast finds himself caught up in events that started well before he was born. The main focus of this tale is on him and the development of his character as he comes to grip with one surprise after another. There is a long list of secondary characters, each with their own agenda, but Jennifer Fallon has a talent for making complicated plot lines easy to follow. You won't find any large info dumps or tedious telling, instead she doles out back story in short bursts and only when the story calls for it. That is one of the reasons why her writing flows so well.
Now as for content. The main characters are fairly young, 15-16 years old, but there is some violence and alot of sexual content. Although it is not overly graphic, sex forms one of the main elements of the story. Belagren, as part of her newly formed religion, creates seasonal rituals which utilize a powerful aphrodisiac resulting in massive orgies. These rituals also include human sacrifice patterned after the sacrifice of the Lion's son. Both of these elements form one of the main reasons why the people of Dhevyn chafe at the rule of Senet so they are necessary to the plot. You also won't find any magic. This is more of an alternate world fantasy then a traditional sword and sorcery or high fantasy type story. Not that it suffers in any way for the lack of magic, but if that is the type of fantasy you are looking for, you won't find it here. What you will find is a well told tale of the corruption of religion, the lengths people will go to hide the truth from themselves, the angst of betrayal, the will to survive against all odds, the inner fortitude it takes to endure hardship and the determination required to pursue what you know is right, even if it means your death. Now if you'll forgive me, I'm off to read book two, I can't wait to see what Dirk gets up to next!
Other books in the series
Librarything rating 4.07/5
Amazon Rating 3.8 out of 5 stars
(42 customer reviews)
What Should I Read Next?
|Kindle: The Lion of Senet (Second Sons Trilogy)
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Science Fantasy Book Review of The Lion of Senet (Second Sons Trilogy: Book 1) by Jennifer Fallon - Reviewed by Mulluane - on July 27 2013 - Rating: