Mar. 11th, 2017

dmilewski: (Macbeth the Usurper)
The Prophet of Lamath (1979) by Robert Don Hughes, is a humorous Game of Thrones before there even was a Game of Thrones, with Pelman the Powershaper as the main protagonist and the main antagonist. (It's a noteworthy trick pulling that one off.) The book reads smoothly but not engagingly, plots along bumpily, offers stock archetypes who never really get to stay archetypical, with a narrative that bouncing about like a pingpong ball.

The work is a non-Tolkienesque fantasy, featuring no gods, elves, orcs, quests, or anything like that. It's pretty much humans running about mucking up each other's lives, and a two-headed dragon (mistaken for a god) that Pelmen gets into a rather vicious argument with itself.

The work is eminently skimmable, which I did as I found the finer description rather tepid.

A very unplotted book, the characters do their own things, bringing the story repeatedly into odd locations and dislocations. Sometimes this worked, and sometimes this didn't. In this respect, it's more like a fantasy narrative from the 40's to the 60's than anything like the 80's and beyond.

In terms of literary orthidoxy, it breaks many rules. The head hopping and POV slides about extensively, but rarely destructively.

The novel features a loose Christian theme, that being the Power. Don't worry about it beating you about the head. It's there, and it's part of the work, but stays rather low key through the story. Being published after Star Wars, it's like the Force, except not the Force, but does something of the same thing.

Refreshingly, the book contains little to no cynicism, and no flat-out "bwa-ha-ha" villains. If there's any villain, it's pride, vanity, sloth, gluttony, avarice, and wrath (the seven deadly sins sans lust). You won't have any problem figuring out which character represents which sin. For the most part, this works amazingly well.

While being no page turner, the book does have its fun moments. If you need a good change of pace, or need to get Game of Thrones out of your soul for a little while, this is a good pick.

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