Fantasy Classics: “King of the Murgos” (by David Eddings)

Darcy and Winters

King of theMurgos, the second book of David Eddings’ sries The Mallorean, picks up where the previous volume ended. Garion and company are now on the trail of the mysterious figure known as Zandramas. They make a few stops in some of the already-established locales–including Tolnedra and Nyissa–before meeting Urgit, the new King of the Murgos. By the end of the novel, they are now the “guests’ of ‘Zakath, the Emperor of Mallorea, who seems to have his own plans for what will become of them.

As I noted in my review of the various entries of The Belgariad, there are times when Eddings tends to lean too heavily on the idea of cultural determinism, i.e. that certain groups of people will be guaranteed to act in certain ways, largely as a result of what racial group they happen to belong to. While this book doesn’t entirely undo that…

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Fantasy Classics: “Guardians of the West” (by David Eddings)

Darcy and Winters

Having finished The Belgariad, I decided to jump run into the sequel series, The Mallorean, beginning of course with Guardians of the West. There’s a lot to love about this novel. It manages to recapture some of the breathless action of the several books in The Belgariad, while also striking on its own. The plot here is a bit more expanded than it was in the first book, as Garion and company have to cope with the fact that his defeat of Torak was not, in fact, the final battle that they all assumed it would be. As it turns out, the tangled web of prophecy hasn’t quite finished with Garion, his family, and his friends. In fact, it draws them even more into its clutches, particularly when Garion’s son is kidnapped by the new Child of Dark, a mysterious figure known only as Zandramas.

To my mind, the most…

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Fantasy Classics: “Enchanter’s Endgame” (by David Eddings)

Darcy and Winters

And so at last we come to the concluding volume of David Eddings’ Belgariad. It’s been a wild ride, and as I’ve gone through my re-reading of this series, I’ve been astonished again and again at how very quickly I’ve made my way through them. There’s just something compulsively readable about this series, something that hooks you right from the beginning and keeps you moving through.

In this novel, the final confrontation between Garion and Torak is set to take place. While he, Silk, and Belgarath make their way to Torak’s hiding place, those left behind must do all they can to keep the forces of the Angaraks at bay. Finally, of course, Garion and the Dark God confront one another and, inevitably, Torak is defeated. In the epilogue, Garion marries C’Nedra, while Polgara marries Durnik (who has been resurrected after being slain by Zedar the Apostate).

This book marks…

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Fantasy Classics: “Castle of Wizardry” (by David Eddings)

Darcy and Winters

And so we come at last to Castle of Wizardry, the next-to-last volume in David Eddings’ magnificent epic The Belgariad. Fleeing from the ruins of the Murgo fortress, the company eventually comes to the island of Riva, where Garion claims both the Orb and the throne. In assuming the throne of Riva, Garion has now set the stage for the final, dreadful combat between himself and Torak, a clash that will quite literally determine the fate of the world.

As the penultimate novel in the series, Castle of Wizardry spends a great deal of time setting up the actions that are to come. However, it still has that sense of breathless pacing that makes The Belgariad as a whole such a pleasure to read. Somehow, Eddings manages to strike the right balance between keeping the story moving forward at good pace while also slowing down to immerse the reader in…

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Fantasy Classics: “Magician’s Gambit” (by David Eddings)

Darcy and Winters

Matters continue to race forward in Magician’s Gambit, the third volume in David Eddings’ magnificent Belgariad. The company is drawing closer to the place where the sinister Grolim Ctuchik has hidden the Orb of Aldur, and along the way they encounter both the desolate land of Maragor, site of the horrific genocide that exterminated the Marags, as well as the Ulgos, subterranean servants of the god UL. Finally, they arrive in Cthol Murgos and a terrible confrontation takes place between Belgarath and Ctuchik, which results in the destruction of the latter.

In this novel, the final contours of the great struggle taking place between the forces of darkness and light begin to emerge, as well as the powers that Garion has been born to wield. It becomes clear that he is fated to wield tremendous power, though he has yet to fully figure out how to use it. What is…

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Fantasy Classics: Queen of Sorcery (by David Eddings)

Darcy and Winters

Queen of Sorcery picks up where Pawn of Prophecy left off. Garion is still in the company of the sorcerer Belgarath and his daughter Polgara, as well as sundry other characters, including several new additions, most notably C’Nendra, the daughter of the Emperor of Tolendra who joins them after she runs away from home. As the novel progresses, we visit more of the lands of Eddings’ fictional world and get a firmer view of the politics at play, including the never-ending conflict between the Mimbrates and the Arendians, as well as the machinations of the Nyissans, led by their snake-like Queen Salmissra.

As with its predecessor, there are the familiar epic beats as it becomes clearer that Garion is not just a young boy brought along to keep him safe but is, instead, pivotal to the workings of prophecy itself. What’s more, it’s revealed during the course of the story…

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Fantasy Classics: “Pawn of Prophecy” (by David Eddings)

Darcy and Winters

Sometimes, you just want to read a book that hits all the right notes of its chosen genre, that doesn’t really try to be something it’s not. So, when I decided that I wanted to read an epic fantasy in a style that isn’t quite as popular that it once was, I dug out my omnibus copies of The Belgariad and The Mallorean and decided to give them a re-read.

I’m glad I did. From the moment that I started reading Pawn of Prophecy, the first installment of The Belgariad, still retains much of the charm that drew me to it when I was an adolescent in the late ’90s, always looking for my next fantasy adventure to lose myself in.

The novel follows a young boy named Garion, who’s been raised on a farm in the practical kingdom of Sendar. Very soon, it becomes clear that he is part…

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Book Review: “Dune: House Atreides” (by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson)

Darcy and Winters

I’m about to make a very controversial statement. I actually like the series of books that Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson have written, building on the legacy left by Frank Herbert. Anyone who’s spent any time in the world of the Dune fandom knows that those who loved the original books are, for the most part, quite hostile to the efforts of the younger Brian. I’ve seen them described as potboilers, as exploitative cash grabs, as bastardizations of the elder Herbert’s grand philosophical vision that he set out in his original six volumes.

However, all of this is somewhat beside the point. Herbert and Anderson, like another scion of a great literary figure (Christopher Tolkien) have done a great deal to flesh out the world left behind by Frank Herbert. You can love it or hate it, but I personally like returning to this world, seeing the backstories of…

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Science Fiction Classics: “Heretics of Dune” (by Frank Herbert)

Darcy and Winters

As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve been slowly making my way through the various books of the Dune saga. I’ve now finished the fifth book in the original series, Heretics of Dune. This is one of the entries in the saga that has a rather mixed reception among fans, and I can see why. It’s not quite as focused as some of the other entries in the series and, given that it’s the first not to include one of the original Atreides (or at least a close descendant), it takes some getting used to.

That being said, I enjoyed God Emperor of Dune more than a lot of people, but I still thought it was a rather strange book, particularly in comparison to the ones that preceded it. I mean, it’s difficult to really get into a book in which a man has allowed himself to become a…

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Science Fiction Classics: God Emperor of Dune (by Frank Herbert)

Darcy and Winters

Now at last we come to one of the most divisive entries in the Dune Chronicles. It’s not hard to see why. After all, this is a novel that has as one of its main characters a man who managed to make himself a hybrid of human and sandworm. To be honest, when I long ago read the cover of this novel, I thought it sounded ridiculous, a far cry from how things had started out in Dune. Now that I’ve finally finished the first three volumes, the fourth does make more sense than I thought it would.

To be fair, the novel is weird, particularly in comparison to the other entries in the series. By this point, 3500 years have passed since Leto first began his transition into a human/sandworm hybrid. He now rules as the supreme authority in all of the universe, known as the God Emperor. Utterly…

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