Another of veteran Silverberg's yarns set on Majipoor, the giant planet inhabited--for the most part amicably--by humans along with a bewildering array of aliens (The Mountains of Majipoor, 1995, etc.). In an era when sorcery dominates the councils and deeds of the mighty, the ancient Pontifex, Prankipin, lies dying. According to ancient tradition, his successor will be Lord Confalume, the present Coronal. But there is great rivalry between Prince Prestimion, expected to be named Coronal after Confalume, and Confalume's son Korsibar--the latter of whom, an oracle has told, ``will shake the world.'' Korsibar's sister, the ambitious Thismet, is also ``destined for greatness,'' again according to an oracle. But Prankipin takes so long to die that Prestimion and Korsibar agree to inaugurate his Funeral Games before he actually expires. Meanwhile, the sorcerers and Thismet persuade Korsibar that his claim to become Coronal is stronger than Prestimion's, thus precipitating a plot to usurp the prince. The upshot is a sorcery-inspired civil war so terrible that the victor orders the sorcerers to wipe its memory from history and from the minds of the people. Nearly 500 pages of elegant, soporific twiddling; even Majipoor addicts are likely to find their attention wandering.