Destiny: Child of the Sky (Symphony of Ages Series #3)

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Overview

First there was Rhapsody, which Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, called "one of the finest high fantasy debuts in years." Then came Prophecy, of which the Romantic Times said, "Fans eagerly anticipating the second book from Elizabeth Haydon elevates craftsmanship to a new level of excellence as she deftly weaves mythology and fantasy, catching our hearts with the extroadinary power and intensity of both characters and concepts. This series already has 'landmark' written ...

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Overview

First there was Rhapsody, which Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, called "one of the finest high fantasy debuts in years." Then came Prophecy, of which the Romantic Times said, "Fans eagerly anticipating the second book from Elizabeth Haydon elevates craftsmanship to a new level of excellence as she deftly weaves mythology and fantasy, catching our hearts with the extroadinary power and intensity of both characters and concepts. This series already has 'landmark' written all over it." (41/2 Star, Gold Medal Review)

Here is Destiny, the triumphant conclusion to the Rhapsody Trilogy.

In Rhapsody, a fellowship was forged, three companions who triumphed over great adversity: Rhapsody, a singer of great talent and beauty; Achmed, an assassin with unearthly talents; and Grunthor, a giant of jolly disposition and deadly skill with weapons. Having fled the F'dor — an ancient, powerful evil — the three emerged on the other side of the world, only to discover that fourteen centuries had passed. Their homeland had been destroyed, their people scattered across several continents, and everyone they had ever known had long since passed . . . except, perhaps, the F'dor.

Prophecy continued this powerful epic. Driven by a vision, Rhapsody rescued the religious leader of her new homeland while Achmed and Grunthor sought evidence of the F'dor. The three learned they might be their world's only hope, heroes spoken of in the Prophecy of the Three, but time was running short. They had to find their elusive enemy before his darkness consumed them all.

Destiny concludes this masterful trilogy. Rhapsody and Achmed seek out the offspring of the F'dor, hoping to use them to hunt it down, while Grunthor prepares the Bolglands for war. But as they near the completion of their quest, their world crosses the threshold of disaster and faces utter oblivion. With Destiny, Haydon brings the action to a fever pitch, achieving a crescendo of tragedy, love, and triumph of their human spirit over world-shattering cataclysm.

In addition to traveling the world, Elizabeth Haydon enjoys music, anthropology, and folklore, and is an accomplished herbalist. A harpist and madrigal singer, she lives with her family on the East Coast, where she works as an editor in educational publishing.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Reading this novel is like listening to a great work of music. The story of Destiny -- the final book in Elizabeth Haydon's marvelous trilogy that began with Rhapsody and Prophecy -- centers around Rhapsody, Achmed, and Grunthor -- three half-blooded outcasts who escaped their home island of Serendair, only to find that evil had followed them. Once leaving the bowels of the earth in which they traveled, they learned of their home world's destruction and the fate of its people.

Destiny takes up directly after the events of the last two books. The F'dor, now alone after the destruction of his Rakshas, is plotting and maneuvering different groups of people, preparing for the final battle. While he's setting up the destruction of the world, Rhapsody and Achmed take to finding the Rakshas' children, hoping to separate them from the demon's blood and giving Achmed a way of finding the elusive F'dor.

As the story progresses, the characters are manipulated and moved through areas and situations with grace and purpose. Only Rhapsody, Achmed, and Grunthor can be trusted not to be the evil entity, yet they aren't perfect, either. Still, you can't push aside the other characters without wondering who they really are and what their true goals are in helping or thwarting our heroes, and the story pulls at your emotions as you try to figure out who the demon's host actually is. Elizabeth Haydon has managed to create a world and its inhabitants that you want to learn more about. (Lisa Harshberger)

Publishers Weekly
Following Rhapsody: Child of Blood (2001) and Prophecy: Child of Earth (2000), Haydon concludes her high fantasy trilogy featuring the beautiful skysinger Rhapsody, who generates magic from music, with a dark, cataclysmic book filled with almost constant action. With the evil Rakshas destroyed in volume two, Rhapsody and her two shady half-breed sidekicks, clairvoyant assassin Achmed and the jolly green giant Grunthor, undertake a quest for the blood of the Rakshas' children, which they hope will help them solve the mystery of the hidden demon F'dor, the creator of the murderous Rakshas. Wielding her fire sword, Rhapsody summons starfire and metaphysical music for her final confrontation with the demonic force intent on world destruction. Though obviously inspired by music theory, Norse and Celtic folklore, and seemingly by such authors as Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Patricia A. McKillip, Anne McCaffrey and Palmer Brown (Cheerful), the author uses a fluid writing style to build a world uniquely and compellingly her own. In this shimmering symphony of exhaustive (though not exhausting) detail, epic myths, music and magic intertwine in a resounding fugal crescendo. Haydon fans sorry to see the end of the trilogy can take heart in knowing that the Rhapsody saga's vast historical timeline contains plenty of unexplored epochs and eras ripe for future book treatment. (Sept. 1) FYI: Haydon donated all her royalties from Prophecy to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in perpetuity. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Called across time to fulfill her destiny, the harpist Rhapsody joins with the Firbolg king Achmed and his giant companion Grunthor to attempt to fight the powerful and elusive F'dor, a demon-born danger that threatens the fabric of existence. As the three champions' path grows more perilous, they learn to use the special gifts alluded to in ancient prophecies. Haydon's conclusion to her "Rhapsody" trilogy (Rhapsody, Prophecy) blends Celtic lore with Asian myth to produce a world both strange and hauntingly familiar. A good choice for fantasy collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Filled with detail and a complex, multi-faceted plotline, and readers will quickly pick up on the echoes of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth and David Eddings Belgariad series, as well as Celtic and Norse mythology, and even a dash of Mozart's Magic Flute."—Toronto National Post & Mail
Toronto National Post & Mail

Filled with detail and a complex, multi-faceted plotline, and readers will quickly pick up on the echoes of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth and David Eddings Belgariad series, as well as Celtic and Norse mythology, and even a dash of Mozart's Magic Flute.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641750014
  • Publication date: 6/23/2006
  • Series: Symphony of Ages Series, #3
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

As the daughter of an air force officer, Elizabeth Haydon began traveling at an early age and has since traveled all over the world. She draws on the imagery of these visits in the Symphony of Ages series, and blends her love of music, anthropology, herbalism and folklore into much of her writing. Haydon is also a harpist and a madrigal singer (a singer of medieval songs). Currently, she works as an editor in educational publishing and lives with her family on the East Coast.

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Read an Excerpt

DESTINY


By Elizabeth Haydon

Tor Books

ISBN: 0-812-57083-9


Chapter One

Ylorc

When the mountain peak of Gurgus exploded, the vibrations coursed through the foundations of the earth.

Above ground, the debris field from the blast stretched for miles, ranging from boulder-sized rubble at the base of the peak to fragments of sand that littered the steppes more than a league away. In between, shards of colored glass from windows that had once been inlaid in the mountain's hollow summit lay like a broken rainbow, glittering in the sun beneath an intermittent layer of sparkling dust.

Below ground, a small band of Firbolg soldiers felt the concussion rumble beneath their feet, though they were some miles east of Gurgus. A few moments of stillness passed, as dust settled to the floor of the tunnel. When Krarn finally released the breath he was holding, the rest of his patrol shook off their torpor and resumed their duties. The Sergeant-Major would flay them alive if they let something as small as a tremor keep them from their appointed rounds.

A few days later, the soldiers reluctantly emerged under a cloudless sky, having reached the furthest extent of this section of their tunnel system, and the end of their patrol route.

Krarn stood on the rim of the crater-like ruins of the Moot, a meeting place from ancient times, now dark with coal ash and considered haunted. Nothing but the howl of the wind greeted him; no one lived in the rocky foothills that stretched into steppes, then out to the vast Krevensfield Plain beyond.

Having finished their sweep of the area, his men had quietly assembled behind him. Krarn was about to order them back into the tunnels when the hairs on his back-from his neck to his belt-stood on end.

It began as the faintest of rumblings in the ground. The tremors were not enough to be noticed on their own, but Krarn noted the trembling of vegetation, the slightest of changes in the incessantly dry landscape, little more than the disturbance that a strong breeze might make. He knew that it was no wind that caused this disturbance; it had come from the earth.

Silently ordering his men into a skirmish line, Krarn's eyes scanned the area, looking for any more signs. After a few minutes, the feeling passed, and the earth settled into stillness again. Nothing but wind sighed through the tall grass.

"Aftershocks," he muttered to himself.

With a shake of his head, Krarn led his men back into the tunnels.

And in so doing, missed the chance to sound a warning of what was to come.

As the days passed, the tremors grew stronger.

The surface of the Moot, baked to a waterless shell by the summer sun, began to split slightly, thin cracks spreading over the landscape like the spidery pattern on a mirror that had broken but not shattered.

Then came steam, the slightest of puffs of rancid smoke rising up ominously from the ground beneath the tiny cracks.

By day it was almost impossible to see, had eyes been in the locality to see it. By night it mixed with the hot haze coming off the ground and, caught by the wind, wafted aloft, blending with the low-hanging clouds.

Finally came the eruption.

Waves of shock rolled through the earth as if it were the sea, waves that intensified, growing stronger. The earth began to move, to rise in some places, shifting in its underground strata.

Then, with a terrifying lunge, it ripped apart.

The rumbling beneath the surface suddenly took on movement. It started outside of Ylorc but traveled quickly. It was heading north.

Unerringly, determinedly north, toward the icy land of the Hintervold.

All along the eastern rim of the mountains, then westward across the plains, a movement within the ground could be felt, a shifting so violent that it sent aftershocks through the countryside, uprooting trees and splitting crevasses into the sides of rolling hills, causing children miles away to wake in the night, shaking with fear.

Their mothers held them close, soothing them. "It's nothing, little one," they said, or uttered some similar words in whatever language they were accustomed to speaking. "The ground trembles from time to time, but it will settle and go quiet again. See? It is gone already. There is nothing to fear."

And then it was gone.

The children nestled their heads against their mother's shoulders, their eyes bright in the darkness, knowing on some level that the shivering was more than the ripples of movement in the crust of the world. Someone listening closely enough might sense, beyond the trembling passage, a deeper answer from below the ground.

Much deeper below.

As if the earth itself was listening.

Deep within her tomb of charred earth, the dragon had felt the aftershocks of the explosion of the mountain peak.

Her awareness, dormant for years, hummed with slight static, just enough to tickle the edges of her unconscious mind that had hibernated since her internment in the grave of melted stone and fire ash in the ancient Moot.

At first the sensation nauseated her and she fought it off numbly, struggling to sink back into the peaceful oblivion of deathlike sleep. Then, when oblivion refused to return, she began to grow fearful, disoriented in a body she didn't remember.

After a few moments the fear turned to dread, then deepened into terror.

As the whispers of alarm rippled over her skin it unsettled the ground around her grave, causing slight waves of shock to reverberate through the earth around and above her. She distantly sensed the presence of the coterie of Firbolg guards from Ylorc, the mountainous realm that bordered the grave, who had come to investigate the tremors, but was too disoriented to know what they were.

And then they were gone, leaving her mind even more confused.

The dragon roiled in her sepulcher of scorched earth, shifting from side to side, infinitesimally. She did not have enough control of her conscious thought to move more than she could inhale, and her breath, long stilled into the tiniest of waves, was too shallow to mark.

The earth, the element from which her kind had sprung, pressed down on her, squeezing the air from her, sending horrific scenes of suffocation through her foggy mind.

And then, after what seemed to her endless time in the clutches of horror, into this chaos of thought and confused sensation a beacon shone, the clear, pure light of her innate dragonsense. Hidden deep in the rivers of her ancient blood, old as she was old, the inner awareness that had been her weapon and her bane all of her forgotten life began to rise, clearing away the conundrum, settling the panic, cell by cell, nerve by nerve, bringing clarity in tiny moments, like pieces of an enormous puzzle coming together, or a picture that was slowly gaining focus.

And with the approaching clarity came a guarded calm.

The dragon willed herself to breathe easier, and in willing it, caused it to happen.

She still did not comprehend her form. In her sleep-tangled mind she was a woman still, of human flesh and shape, not wyrm, not beast, not serpentine, and so she was baffled by her girth, her heft, the inability of her arms and legs to function, to push against the ground as they once had. Her confusion was compounded by this disconnection between mind, body, and memory, a dark stage on which no players had yet come to appear. All she could recall in her limited consciousness was the sense of falling endlessly in fire that had struck her from above, and blazed below her as she fell.

Hot, she thought hazily. Burning. I'm burning.

But of course she was not. The blast of flame that had taken her from the sky had quenched more than three years before, had sizzled into smoky ash covering the thick coalbed that lined her tomb, baking it hard and dry in its dying.

Fighting her disorientation, the dragon waited, letting her inner sense sort through the jumble, inhaling a bit more deeply with each breath, remaining motionless, letting the days pass, marking time only by the heat she could feel through the earth when the sun was high above her tomb, and the cooling of night, which lasted only a short while before the warmth returned.

Must be summer's end, she mused, the only cognizant thought to take hold.

Until another image made its way onto the dark stage.

It was a place of stark white, a frozen land of jagged peaks and all but endless winter. In the tight containment of the tomb the memory of expansiveness returned; she recalled staring up at a night sky blanketed with cold stars, the human form she had once inhabited, and still inhabited in her mind, tiny and insignificant in the vastness of the snowy mountains all around her.

A single word formed in her mind.

Home.

With the word came the will.

As the puzzle solidified, as the picture became clearer, her dragonsense was able to ascertain direction, even beneath the ground. With each new breath the dragon turned herself by inches until, after time uncounted, she sensed she was pointed north-northwest. Across the miles she could feel it calling, her lair, her stronghold, though the details of what it was were still scattered.

It mattered not.

Once oriented in the correct direction, she set off, crawling through the earth, still believing herself to be human, dragging a body that did not respond the way she expected it to relentlessly forward, resolute in her intent, slowly gaining speed and strength, until the ground around her began to cool, signaling to her that home was near. Then, with a burst of renewed resolve, she bore through the crust of the earth, up through the blanket of permafrost, hurtling out of the ground in a shower of cracking ice and flying snow, to fall heavily onto the white layer that covered the earth like a frozen scab, breathing shallowly, rapidly, ignoring the sting of the cold.

She lay motionless for a long while beneath that endless night sky blanketed with stars, thought and reason returning with her connection to this land, this place to which she had been exiled, in which she had made her lair. The dragon inhaled the frosty wind, allowing it to slowly cleanse her blackened lungs as the dragonsense in her blood was cleansing her mind.

And along with thought and reason, something else returned as well, burning hot at the edges of her memory, unclear, but unmistakable, growing in clarity and intensity with each moment.

The fury of revenge.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from DESTINY by Elizabeth Haydon Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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Reading Group Guide

Questions for Discussion

1. Throughout Destiny, Rhapsody is referred to as naïve, and many of her actions prove this to be correct. Yet, she has led a life that could hardly be called sheltered. How has she remained so pure of heart, and how does this innocence influence the story? Does it make her more or less vulnerable to the F'dor?

2. Of the Firbolg culture, the author writes: "Bloodied warriors could lie on the battlefield and die of non-mortal wounds while medical attention was directed to a laboring woman, in the belief that the infant was the Future, while the soldier was merely the present. Anything that was the Past did not matter, save for a few stories and the allencompassing need to survive." Is this an effective belief system for a civilized culture? How does this belief system help Achmed gain the Firbolg crown? How does this culture compare with other cultures?

3. Achmed, like all Dhracians, is literally a sworn blood enemy of the F'dor's demonic race, biologically predisposed to track the demons through the scent of their vile blood, just as certain species of animals seem to know dangerous predators instinctively. Do you believe that enemies are born or made?

4. In all her books, Elizabeth Haydon confronts many of the most profound questions of religion and faith. In Destiny, as Rhapsody and Achmed discuss the disappearance of the Wellspring of Entudenin, the Firbolg king says, "Have you ever noticed, Rhapsody, that when something miraculous and good happens it's a gift from the All-God, but when something baleful happens, it was man's fault? Perhaps everything that happens, good and bad, is just random chance." Is this statement consistent with Achmed's personality? Do you think Rhapsody would agree with his observation? Do you agree with his observation?

5. Speaking of the Cymrians, Llauron says, "Longevity that borders on immortality is as much a curse as a blessing, my son, maybe even more so." Discuss his contention, including how it relates to Rhapsody, Ashe, and Anborn, and to Llauron's own decision to attain his true dragon form.

6. Time is a dynamic and flexible dimension in Destiny, as Rhapsody's visit to the realm of the Lord and Lady Rowan illustrates. Before Rhapsody sets off, Oelendra warns that it may be hard to find her place in Time again. Yet, Rhapsody undergoes her ordeal and returns with apparently no ill effects. What character traits does Rhapsody have that allow her to endure, and keep her place in Time?

7. In the mystical realm of the Rowans, Rhapsody vividly dreams of her dead sister Jo, who tells her, "It's the connections that we make in life that allow us to know love in the Afterlife." How does this knowledge influence Rhapsody's actions with the children of the Rakshas? With the Cymrians at the Moot?

8. When Rhapsody is tricked by Llauron into saying he has been killed, she feels that her truthfulness is tainted and that she is no longer a Namer. Achmed argues that Truth is subjective, and she bears no responsibility for Llauron's misleading her. Is he correct? Is an unwitting lie really a lie? What other examples of Rhapsody being deceptive are in the book? How does she justify them?

9. Rhapsody is a most altruistic character; virtually everything she does is for the betterment of others. Achmed repeatedly insists he is the opposite, that he does things for his own purposes and in his own time. Yet, his actions often belie his claims. Discuss in depth the character of Achmed, paying close attention to how the author portrays his seeming contradictions.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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