Volume two of The Pearl, a fantasy saga begun with The Ring of Five Dragons (2001). Lustbader erects a strong armature of myth, magic, technology, and religion to support his unstoppered imaginings. The Ring of Five Dragons, sought herein, may unlock the secrets of the Kundalans’ Great Goddess Minna, which lie in the Storehouse, or perhaps reveal The Pearl itself. Now the canvas sweeps wide, with demons and arch-demons arriving from the Abyss. Three peoples vie for the ring. Enslaved for a century by the technologically superior V’ornn (a fascistic, nomadic, off-world alien race), the spiritual Kundalans find their faith in Minna wavering. They await their savior, the Dar Sala-at, who will be born at both ends of the cosmos. How? Riane, a fatally ill female orphan who is Dar Sala-at, receives through sorcery the being of dead young Annon Ashera, heir to rulership of the V’orrn. Then Annon finds himself in a female body but also loved by Eleana, a Kundalan female. Will this bit of human/humanoid semi-same-sex miscegenation eventually lead the races into a marriage of opposites? With opposites dueling throughout, is unity the pearl? Among the major characters: the twin sisters, Giyan (beautiful, gifted with sorcery) and Bartta (bunched, bitter, corrupt), themselves opposites but priestesses of the Kundalans’ Ramahan religion. Ruling the V’ornns are the mysterious Gyrgon with their scary techno-mages.
World-building that should attract a new universe of fans.