LAST REFUGE by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

LAST REFUGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Sequel to Nothing Sacred (1991), continuing the tale of Shambala, a Shangri-La-like magical paradise hidden in the Himalayas. Nuclear war has ravaged the world, but Shambala has been protected by its enchantments. Nearly 20 years have passed, however, and disaster has struck in Shambala: New babies are being born without souls. Chime Cincinnati, the reincarnation of the Terton, Shambala's emissary to the outside world, decides she must venture into the wastelands to discover what's gone wrong. Along with Mike (son of Viveka Vanachek, the previous book's heroine), she enters a world populated by the ghosts of the billion dead (and a few degenerated survivors). Eventually, they reach another protected valley, ruled by the distinctly unholy Master Meru. It's up to Chime to outwit Meru and guide the living and the dead to safety in Shambala. Despite the colorful setting, the story has little energy, and the pace is further slowed by a long and pointless subplot. Any exoticism the Buddhist background might have added is lost in Scarborough's paradoxically rationalistic portrayal of the supernatural (the ghosts retain their lifetime identities, even such expressions as ``Sheesh!''), and the humor meshes poorly with the darker images and the apocalyptic landscape. The novelties that made the first book interesting cannot rescue this one.

Pub Date: Aug. 17th, 1992
ISBN: 0-553-08961-7
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1992




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