Lord of Lies by David Zindell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Very interesting book in the series. It's VERY much a Grail tale like the others, but it picks up with what happens after finding it, with every kind of interesting snag that comes with all the local kings and warriors who covet it or play extended politics.
The first part has a lot of an Ivanhoe feel, knights and tournaments and processions, and a focus on the Lightstone which is just a stand-in for Christ, etc., without BEING that kind of thing at all. Indeed, what it IS, is a kind-of epic SF that includes many, many civilizations and planets, a time span in the tens of thousands of years, and people who have been alive as long as that. And the Lightstone itself is there to bridge the gap between worlds.
While the overt ideas are pretty well-worn, the deeper ramifications are rather gorgeous.
And when we get to the Arthurian-type tragedies, the Ea Cycle doesn't disappoint either. Who is good and just, who is worthy, who is free from sin -- all of this plays right into the core idea of Power, and the idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The betrayals and the reasons and even the SUBJECT of betrayal in this book are pretty complicated and carefully explored. Lord of Light? Aye. And Lord of Lies.
But above all, this IS a true epic fantasy, with many battles, many quests (continued here), and it feels rather awesome -- considering that you, as a reader, want an epic Grail quest with new-age concepts, truly excellent worldbuilding, and interesting, complicated characters.
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