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    THE KING OF DREAMS by Robert Silverberg


    EOS, June 2001

    Prestimion is getting older but feels far from ready to descend into the labyrinth and become senior king of Majipoor. At the terrible moment of transition, when Prestimion's long-time protogee, Lord Dekkeret must step up to become Coronal, Prestimion's ancient enemy again conspires rebellion. Using mechanically enhanced psychic powers, Mandralisca attacks the minds of some of Prestimion's closest friends and family.

    The Majipoor world, with its teaming billions of people (both human and non-human), its vast continents and varying cultures, is obviously a labor of love for author Robert Silverberg. Yet THE KING OF DREAMS is about people, rather than about world building. With few exceptions, Silverberg deals sympathetically with his characters introducing real fears and flaws to match their heroic qualities. Even the evil Mandralisca is motivated by an abusive childhood, allowing the reader to, if not sympathize, at least understand why he strives for power and cannot see others except as tools for his ambition.

    THE KING OF DREAMS opens painfully slowly. We are treated to long periods during which characters work out their relationships one more time, and without moving the plot forward. Although Silverberg's characters are often fascinating, I felt slightly cheated that the real story happened so quickly after such a long buildup (I have no complaints about the bang-up finish). Fans of Prestimion, however, may well enjoy seeing the increasing depth of character and more subtle understanding that his years as Coronal have brought him.

    I was also troubled by the resolution of the King of Dreams issue. Prestimion had raised valid concerns about this concept--that a hereditary new power could result in tyranny. These concerns were never dealt with, leaving me, at least, concerned for the future of Majipoor.

    Three Stars

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