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EXILES by Melanie Rawn

EXILES

Vol. I of The Ruins of Ambrai

By Melanie Rawn

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-88677-619-8
Publisher: DAW/Berkley

 Rawn (Skybowl, 1993, etc.) makes a strong bid to establish herself as the Rube Goldberg of fantasy as she embellishes her account of revolution on the planet Lenfell with an excess of explication, minor characters, and details (some explored in an ``index'' too spotty to be useful) that ensure the plot mechanism never gets out of first gear. Glenin Ferian, Sarra Liewellan, and Cailet Rille are the daughters of Auvrey Ferian, who serves at Ryka Court as the powerful right-hand man of First Councillor Avira Anniyas. Glenin, who surpasses her father in ambition and magic, inches toward succeeding Avira as ruler. Meanwhile Sarra and Cailet, who were raised separately, are drawn into ``the Rising,'' an effort by Mage Guardians and their allies to topple Ryka Court and its magic-wielding Lords of Malerris. Sarra, who has the makings of a tactician, shrewdly deduces what horrors could come from the defeat of Mage Guardians, but it is Cailet, still a teenager, who is thrust into the eye of this storm. As the sisters clash in projected subsequent volumes, the most interesting question will be whether they can eradicate the blatant sexism that Rawn, as a heavy-handed joke, has built into her woman-dominated society. Unfortunately, she does a better job of reinscribing sexism than undermining it. A story packed with Mages and devoid of magic.