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by Paula Volsky

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-553-37394-3
Publisher: Spectra/Bantam

 Another otherworld fantasy from the author of The Wolf of Winter (1993), etc. The teeming, rather backward folk of subtropical Aveshq are dominated, politically and economically, by the brisk, progressive Vonahrish--the obvious model being the British occupation of India. In an attempt to suppress the native Aoun-Father cult and its horrid rites, young Vonahrish gentleman Renille will try to assassinate its high priest, KhriNayd-Son. But Renille discovers that Aoun-Father is real, a godlike being from a higher reality. Pursued by vengeful priests, Renille barely escapes with his life, then stumbles into OodPray--the crumbling palace of Aveshq's former rulers, now occupied by the noble Xundunisse and her daughter, Jathondi. Jathondi believes Renille's story, but Xundunisse is determined to expel the Vonahrish by any means, and arranges to marry Jathondi off. Goaded by KhriNayd-Son, meanwhile, Aveshq rises up against the Vonahrish. Jathondi escapes her mother's attentions only to be captured by priests and prepared for sacrifice. Later, Renille rescues Jathondi, while Xundunisse, coming to her senses at last, prepares to ask for major-league magical help. Volsky's all too thinly disguised cultural/religious clash is further undermined by the exotic labels hung upon familiar objects: in all, somewhat above average but decidedly disappointing nonetheless.