Saturday, August 18, 2007

Conqueror's Moon - by Julian May

Conqueror's MoonConqueror's Moon is the first volume in The Boreal Moon Tale, which is set on the island of High Blenholme, a land of four very different kingdoms. Here's the basic gist of this first installment…
Prince Conrig of Cathra has a vision to unite the four kingdoms of Cathra, Didion, Moss and Tarn on the island of High Blenholme under his own sovereignty but not all of them are in favour of submitting to his will.

While Conrig has an ally in Princess Ullanoth of Moss, a very powerful sorceress, he also has to contend with her brother Beynor, who has plans of his own for Moss and High Blenholme. Meanwhile the sealords of Tarn and a fair number of the Cathran nobility are also looking to feather their own nests as best they can out of the deal while Didion opt for war to avoid the union.

Then there's the original inhabitants of High Blenholme, ousted years before by Emperor Bazekoy. Both the monstrous Salka and the Spunkies want their land back with the humans on their menus. Overseeing all of this are the Great Lights, also known as the Coldlight Army and the Beaconfolk. They may look light pretty lights in the sky but they are far, far deadlier than that.

All of the above is fairly run-of-the-mill fantasy drama fare but the hero of the tale is a young lad, born with a wild magic talent, taken into service as a spy by Conrig, who has ambitious plans to unite the land and stave off an invasion from without. It's got magic, political manoeuvering, familial bickering, foul murder, war, nasty monsters and some right evil demons in the mix to keep things lively and interesting.

May seems to write fantasy novels just as well as she does science-fiction and Conqueror's Moon shows all the signs of The Boreal Moon Tale developing into a very decent piece of work. It mau be a wee bit predictable in places but High Blenholme is a pretty rich and varied setting for the story and the characters are nicely developed as the story progresses.

ISBN: 0-00-712320-5
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy
My Rating: 7/10

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