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Dark Of The Gods by P. C. Hodgell

Dark Of The Gods

by P. C. Hodgell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Chronicles of the Kencyrath (Omnibus 1, 1.1, 2)

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God Stalk & Dark of the Moon, combined
  chilperic | Aug 20, 2011 |
The story in this two-novel compendium had everything: an epic setting, interesting world-building (including an interesting set of religions), magic, thieves, dark undertakings, humor, and heroism. Yet, it was lacking something. About midway through the first book, I decided that was was missing for me was a level of emotional intensity. The story and character histories suggested depth, but the writing just didn't quite carry a commensurate depth. By the end of the second book, I felt that much of that missing depth was beginning to show up, but it simply wasn't enough to leave me as satisfied with the volume as I'd hoped to be. Since the writing was improving and the story/plot is good, I'll probably read the next book in the series, but I just couldn't rate this book as highly as I would have liked to do. ( )
  PamelaDLloyd | Dec 2, 2010 |
I ordered it from the Scince Fiction Book Club, and never regreted it.It only took me three days to finish it. I ordered the second omnibus from them as soon as I put it down. Gods, demons, assassins, dimension hopping, time-travelling, zombies and a kick butt heroine. They're on my special shelf of books to be re-read. My only regret is that Ms. Hodgell takes so long between the books. Can't wait for the fifth book to see how Jame will shake up the minitary academy, and her brother's life. ( )
  babsji | Apr 23, 2009 |
These are the first two of P.C. Hodgell's Kencyrath series, which now number four novels and one short-story collection, with a fifth novel completed and awaiting publication, and more planned.

These are one of my favorite fantasy series of all time; while far from perfect (what is) they remain utterly delightful on re-reading after re-reading, and I can't get enough of them.

The series follows Jame, a young Kencyr woman of approximately eighteen or so, who at the beginning of the story is running from the keep where she spent her early childhood, where everyone's dead, pursued by haunts (zombies), amnesiac, wounded, exhausted and at the end of her endurance. She makes it to the huge and strange city of Tai-tastigon, packed, maze-like, god-ridden, a cornucopia of wonders and terrors.

This is the setting for the entire first novel, "God Stalk", in which Jame strives to find herself, discover the secrets of the mysterious gods of the city, apprentice as a professional thief to a strange Master, and never have a dull moment. Tai-tastigon is consciously inspired by the Lankhmar of Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser stories.

The second novel, "Dark of the Moon", follows Jame as she leaves the city in search of her mysterious people and the brother, dimly remembered, who is now apparently the Highlord of their people. Meanwhile, that same brother struggles to marshal the forces to meet a threat to their people and world, and dark evils from the past conspire in both of their fates as they are drawn inexorably closer.

Hodgell's heroine, Jame, is one draw; she's mysterious yet open, kind yet capable of callous cruelty, mostly good but with much darkness within her. She's action-oriented, capable of deep thought yet biased towards doing rather than hesitating, and almost completely physically fearless. That lack of caution results in much of the frequent humor in the series, as Jame over-extends herself into tight situations and slapstick accidents. That accident-prone, destruction-prone nature follows her everywhere: "That's not a woman, it's a natural disaster!" says one character, and her ability to leave things accidentally in ruins is unparalleled. You wouldn't want so share a continent with her, but at a safe remove it's a whole lot of fun.

There is, indeed, a lot of humor in these stories, both of the slapstick variety and sharp wit, which they need to counteract the often quite dark and bloody subject matter.

The other draw is Hodgell's world-building. Not all of it is original, but it's put together in a very original way, and always seems fresh. Ideas just pour off the page, and her settings aren't just fake history, they're steeped in magic and an authentically supernatural worldview. You could set dozens of novels in just one setting of Hodgell's, particularly Tai-tastigon, which many readers wish there'd be more of than just one book.

You won't like these books if you don't like an open-ended story, since any conclusion is still a long way off. Some also find Jame's personality unappealing, so mileage may vary there.

Strongly recommended.

Dedicated fans may enjoy the Kencyr Wiki at http://kencyr.wikia.com/ which is working toward the goal of a comprehensive encyclopedia of Hodgell's world. ( )
2 vote morven | Feb 23, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
P. C. Hodgellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gould, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murphy, KevinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seltzer, NeilCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my father, Robert O. Hodgell 1922-2000 the consummate artist
First words
The hills rolled up to the moon on slopes of wind-bent grass, crested, swept down into tangled brier shadows.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Canonical DDC/MDS

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Book description
Tai-tastigon is burning.

The whole city is in an uproar. And the cause, Jame, and her friend Marc have fled. They are making their way through mountain passes, far too late in the season, hoping to find Jame's brother Tori somewhere on the other side.

Nothing ever goes easily for Jame, least of all this journey. As hints of the past she has forgotten—of dark and horrid years in the house of Gerridon, betrayer of her people, the Kencyrath, and her god—come to the surface, she encounters changers from the house of Gerridon, wanting to bring her back into that dark place. Arrin-ken, catlike creatures who are nevertheless a part of her own people, find and judge her. Bandits, brigands and strange remnants from the past of her people—which suggest a dim future for them, their god and their hope of defeating the great enemy, Perimal Darkling—arise to haunt her. But her determination to find her brother and to avoid falling into eternal darkness only grows stronger.

Meanwhile Tori, who is Highlord of the Kencyrath, leads the wayward lords of the Kencyrath with uneasy grace. He is a compromise for them, a way of avoiding endless battle between them. But he can bind them together only so long as he can tread a narrow way between their varied needs and desires. When a vast and unexpected danger threatens, he must call up the host—the troops that each lord must muster—but in so doing he threatens his own position and his sanity, for he cannot avoid the attention this calls to him, attention that seems to bring changers who want to kill him, and odd nightmares that seem to suggest a future he does not want and the reappearance of a sister he both loves and fears.
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