Reviewed by David Brzeski
Originally published as a limited edition (200 copies) signed paperback, Christopher Paul Carey’s prequel to Philip José Farmer’s Khokarsa series is now available for the Kindle.
I previously reviewed the ‘Gods of Opar’ omnibus volume, which contained not only Farmer’s ‘Hadon of Ancient Opar’ and it’s sequel, ‘Flight to Opar’, but also the final volume of the series, ‘The Song of Kwasin’, which was co-authored by Carey.
This novella follows the heroine-priestess Lupoeth as, acting upon the decree of the oracle, she sets out to discover a new land on the untamed shores of ancient Africa’s southern sea. Somehow, Christopher Paul Carey manages to perfectly meld the styles of Henry Rider Haggard, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Philip José Farmer. It almost seems as if those three authors were amalgamated into one. It’s very well-written, actually somewhat better than Burroughs might have managed. It invokes the period flavour of Haggard’s prose, yet without seeming in any way dated in style. I’m really not quite sure how Carey does it.
Burroughs and Farmer fans will be happy to know that the mysterious Sahhindar, the Grey-Eyed God plays a much bigger role in this story than he does in the ‘Gods of Opar’ trilogy. Sahhindar has been known by a few other names in his near-endless life. I won’t openly reveal them here, but his first adventure was chronicled by Burroughs in 1912, and the story of how he later found himself some 12,000 years in the past can be read in ‘Time’s Last Gift’, by Farmer.
I should be obvious by now that I loved this book. It has all the classic elements, made popular by the authors who influenced it—mysterious oracles, treacherous priests, dangerous monsters and brave heroes (in this case a heroine.)
I certainly hope to see further books set in this fascinating milieu.