Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE ELEMENTALS by Morgan Llywelyn


by Morgan Llywelyn

Pub Date: June 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-86529-9
Publisher: Tor

Four-part circular ecological parable based on the ancient Greek elements of air, fire, earth, and water—from the author of, most recently, The Last Prince of Ireland. In the beginning is the future, or so we learn after having absorbed the fourth and final part of Llywelyn's tale: the icecaps have melted, the Earth is depopulated, and a small band of survivors—fifty women, only three men—arrives in Ireland hoping to build new lives; their leader, Kesair, is forced to kill one of the men after he repeatedly attempts to rape her. Next, we witness the fall of Minoan Crete to volcanic explosion and earthquake through the eyes of Meriones, a court musician. Then, in 1855, a sentient granite boulder in Conway, New Hampshire, gives the gift of second sight to surprised goodwife Annie Murphy. Finally, in the near future, with the planet and its population dying of pollution, overheating, ozone holes, and what-all, only a few scattered bands of ecologically impeccable survivors endure; half-Indian George Clement Burningfeather is drawn to an Indian reservation where an ancient and powerful shaman, Cloud-Being-Born, is preparing a potent spell to heal the Earth and renew its dying spirit. And so on into the future, and back to part one. Four slight, drab, mostly inconsequential yarns with nothing much to connect them except the preachy message in which they are embedded. Llywelyn means well, but her approach lacks subtlety and narrative momentum.