THE SERPENT by Jane Gaskell


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This is Book I, Part 1 of a fantasy-trilogy set in the Atlantean past; Book I, Part 2 is to appear as The Dragon. The scene is antediluvian South America, where the armies of the ""Northern King"" are seeking temporary alliance with the ""Southern Empire"" in order to invade the great, all but unapproachable continent of Atlan to the east. With the Northern troops travels the seventeen-year-old hostage Cija, heiress to a matriarchal satrapy on the western coast. Her mission is to seduce and assassinate the Northern General, Zerd (all bas-relief muscles and arrogant virility). Cija is one of those pain-in-the-neck girlish narrators who tempt one either to nausea or to self-indulgent identification--or, alas, to both. Jungle treks, lizard-skinned men, seven-foot-tall avian steeds, rapes, transvestism, misplaced modifiers, unwitting non sequiturs. . . . Flagrantly awful? You bet, and also flagrantly irresistible. True, the writing is perfectly dreadful; but this is the sort of book that leaves you determinedly holding your nose at every gush and whimper, and madly impatient to find out what happens in Part 2.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 1977
Publisher: St. Martin's