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    Review of STARMAN by Sara Douglass


    TOR, 1996 (U.S. May 2002)

    The world of Tencendor labors under the weight of a foreign and destructive god and a prophesy that foretells a battle between the Starman and the Destroyer. In this third volume of the WAYFARER REDEMPTION, Gorgrael, the destroyer, is prepared to loose vast armies of his ghost-like soldiers protected by increasing hordes of Griffens--mythical creatures of death and destruction. Against these, Axis, the Starman, has only the battered remnants of an army that has already been asked to do too much, and two women who love him. When the ancient plow-god Artor decides to take personal responsibility for the destruction of one of those two women, Axis's chances to fulfill the prophesy look grim.

    Although this novel is entitled STARMAN, it is truly about the two women who love Axis and thier struggles to deal with a world that has brought them more pain than pleasure. Faraday, the woman Axis loved and Azhure, Axis's wife, must come to terms with their own power--and with the rivalry that their love for Axis, and Axis's unwillingness to tell the truth, created.

    Author Sara Douglass (see other reviews of novels by this author) is at her best when she deals with the emotional entanglements between lovers--and these emotional entanglements drive the entire novel. The battle scenes lack much substance and the magic system, while interesting, remains largely unexplored as a major plot element.

    I was uncomfortable with Axis's and Azhure's genocidal elimination of the Skraelings, and more uncomfortable with the ambiguous relationship between parent and child. I thought that neither Axis nor Azhure showed appropriate tenderness toward their own children, let alone toward Axis's expected brother. Indeed, this last element of the novel added little other than making the primary characters less sympathetic.

    STARMAN is the final volume of an interesting and powerful series. Douglass's world-building is first-rate and her emotional development is rich. Fans of her earlier novels will find STARMAN to be a satisfying conclusion to this epic tale. The novel should probably be read as part of the series rather than as a stand-alone.

    Two Stars

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