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The Asutra by Jack Vance
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The Asutra (1973)

by Jack Vance

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Durdane Trilogy (3)

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286261,208 (3.57)4
Gastel Etzwane and his army of Brave Free Men have driven the Roguskhoi from Durdane, only to discover that Durdane is but one tiny front -- a testing ground -- for an implacable enemy intent on subjugating all the worlds of man. Gastel and his people are in no position to resist, but must find a way to escape a slave army, then fight a war on behalf of mankind itself -- to defeat the Asutra. - Jack KingOn the fringes of the Gaean Reach, the cantons of Shant on the planet Durdane are ruled by the reclusive Anome -- who coerces the population using explosive rings around the neck of every adult citizen. The Durdane trilogy (The Anome, The Brave Free Men, and The Asutra) follows the life of Gastel Etzwane, who grows from childhood in the dust of Rhododendron Way to become a musician of renown, and almost against his will, a man of action. When remote cantons are brutalized by the depredations of inhuman Roguskhoi, Etzwane goes before the Anome with a case for response. The Anome proves oddly reluctant to act, and Etzwane must stage a coup to turn Shant against the hordes. Eventually he discovers the sinister fact that the Roguskhoi tribes are pawns of the Asutra, alien elements who seek to bend all of humanity to a disturbing end. The Durdane trilogy traces the rise, struggles and ultimate triumph of Gastel Etzwane-and through him, of humanity itself-over alien subjugation. - Joel HedlundThe Asutra is Book III of the Durdane trilogy, and Volume 45 of the Spatterlight Press Signature Series.Released in the centenary of the author's birth, this handsome new collectionis based upon the prestigious Vance Integral Edition. Select volumes enjoyup-to-date maps, and many are graced with freshly-written forewords contributedby a distinguished group of authors. Each book bears a facsimile of theauthor's signature and a previously-unpublished photograph, chosen from family archives for the period the book was written. These uniquefeatures will be appreciated by all, from seasoned Vance collector to new reader sampling the spectrum of this author's influential work forthe first time. - John Vance II… (more)

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This third book of the Durdane trilogy provides a satisfying and somewhat surprising conclusion to the story, which I will not give away because it’s worth reading.
Gatzel Etzwane again provides the single point of view. He would like to return to his relatively free and simple life as a musician, but his country and his planet need him, or so he believes.
He hears rumors of aliens and spaceships battling in a distant land, and he goes to investigate. Ifness, the man from Earth he met in the previous books, assists his journey by providing a flying boat. Etzwane discovers much but not quite the way he planned to.
I don’t want to give away much more of the plot, but I will point out that the book concludes with a unique and interesting twist, which almost makes the protagonist’s entire adventure beside the point. All the things Etzwane has done, while important in his mind, become minor, almost inconsequential footnotes in the implied story behind the story being told.
Etzwane glimpses the larger story, one that involves Earth and other human settled planets and alien species, the fate of mankind and its place in the universe. By asking Ifness if he can accompany him when he leaves Durdane, his is asking him to make him part of this larger story. But he cannot be. That story isn’t his. This twist is what, in my mind, makes the conclusion of this trilogy stand out.
This is a short book, 204 pages in hardcover. It is no longer in print. The limited edition hardcover copy I read came from my local library. It is available for Kindle, though.
The prose is sparse, stiff, formal, almost Edwardian sounding. Vance seldom uses a short, common word when a longer, more obscure one is available, and I’m fairly certain he made up a few of these. To be honest, I rather liked it because it was so different from the prose style of most books I read.
I recommend this trilogy because the setting and plot are original and interesting. The style may take some getting used to, but this is another good reason for reading it. It’s not your typical, modern science fiction action adventure. It’s different.
( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
The following is a review of the Durdane Chronicles as a whole (without spoilers):

http://speculiction.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/review-of-durdane-chronicles-by-jack.... ( )
  HanJie | May 9, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Vanceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burns, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lehr, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salwowski, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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