Hadon, King of Opar by Christopher Paul Carey. Book review

Hadon, King of Opar by Christopher Paul Carey, Meteor Press, Ltd., signed, h/c $25.00 / Ltd., signed P/b, $15.00, Webpage

Reviewed by Dave Brzeski

This is the latest book in the series begun by Philip José Farmer in ‘Hadon of Ancient Opar’. I have previously reviewed, ‘Gods of Opar’ (the omnibus collection of the first two volumes by Farmer—plus the all-new third volume, ‘The Song of Kwasin’, begun by Farmer and completed by Christopher Paul Carey) and also ‘Exiles of Kho’, Carey’s first solo outing on the series.

In this volume, Christopher Paul Carey helpfully gives us a concise precis of the story so far at the end of the book, which I found very useful, as it’s a fairly complex saga. The previous volume ended with Lalila and Hadon as rulers of Opar, the only surviving Queendom of Khokarsa. The population has been much depleted by the events of the previous books and life is a struggle. They’re getting by, however, until… I’m sorry, I hate spoilers, you’ll have to read ‘Hadon, King of Opar’ to find out.

It struck me, while reading this volume, that it could be a firm contender for the next ‘Game of Thrones’ style TV show, what with all the political and religious intrigue and epic battle scenes. In keeping with the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs and H.Rider Haggard, who were Farmer’s original inspirations for the series, there are abductions, miraculous escapes, betrayals, alliances and everything else one could wish for. Add to that the fact that the female characters are as well-rounded as the male, and often more imposing. La, future ruler of Opar for the next 12,000 years, as many will know from reading ERB’s ‘Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar’, makes her first appearance in this saga, since her birth at the end of the previous volume, as a sixteen year old girl—and quite possibly the scariest character in the book. I don’t quite know how Christopher Paul Carey does it, but he somehow imbues her scenes in the book with real gravitas. You can almost feel her presence.

It has a satisfactory ending, which still leaves the reader wishing they had the next book in the series (‘Blood of Ancient Opar’—forthcoming in 2016) already in their hands. This book, the author’s best so far, cements his position as quite possibly the best writer currently working in the classic Heroic Fantasy genre.

Both the hardcover, and the paperback versions of this book will be limited to the number of preorders they get, so if you want it, you need to go to the website and place your order before the cut-off date, which has been extended to July 13th 2015. My order is already in, despite the fact that I’ve already read the advance pdf that Meteor House provided me with for the purposes of this review.