MORTAL SUNS by Tanith Lee


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Manufactured mythology, from the author of White as Snow (2000), etc.

Queen Hetsa's daughter by the Sun King, Akreon, is born with no feet, so she tells the king that the child died, and surreptitiously consigns the infant to the death god. Miraculously, the child survives Thon's merciless initiation rites and eventually learns to move on crutches. Later, after Akreon dies, Udrombis the Sun Consort poisons Hetsa and orders the child, a royal heir after all, returned to the palace. There, young Calistra glimpses her sun-bright brother Klyton, and falls in love. He, astonished by her beauty, reciprocates and orders that she be taught to walk, upon specially made silver feet. Glardor, the new Sun King, tends to his farming and ignores Klyton and his older brothers Amdysos and Pherox. Later, during a brief war against a neighboring land, Pherox dies in bizarre fashion—struck in the face by a hurled apple. Klyton and Amdysos both nurse ambitions to win the Great Race, a sacred chariot race conducted inside a mountain. Amdysos tricks Klyton and emerges first; as Klyton curses him, a gigantic eagle flies down and snatches Amdysos away. Glardor, stung by a bee, dies. His successor, Nexor, disgraces himself and is rejected by the gods. Klyton becomes Sun King and takes Calistra to wife, to the joy of both. Then Amdysos, horribly crippled and without memory, returns—just as his demented wife gives birth to a demon with exactly the same deformities as Amdysos. So it goes.

The gods are cruel and capricious, and Lee spares no detail through 336 pages of soporific, tormented, occasionally unintelligible prose.

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 2003
ISBN: 1-58567-207-6
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Overlook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2003


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