The Diviner

( 5 )

Overview

Bestselling author Melanie Rawn's triumphant return to high fantasy.

The only survivor of royal treachery that eliminates his entire family, Azzad al-Ma'aliq flees to the desert and dedicates himself to vengeance. With the help of the Shagara, a nomadic tribe of powerful magicians, he will finally be able to take his revenge - but at what cost?

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The Diviner

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Overview

Bestselling author Melanie Rawn's triumphant return to high fantasy.

The only survivor of royal treachery that eliminates his entire family, Azzad al-Ma'aliq flees to the desert and dedicates himself to vengeance. With the help of the Shagara, a nomadic tribe of powerful magicians, he will finally be able to take his revenge - but at what cost?

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Editorial Reviews

Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"Melanie Rawn is an amazingly talented writer who is capable of some of the most direct and clearest fantasy writing I've had the pleasure of reading in quite some time."
Booklist
"Superb.... This book is a prequel to The Golden Key (1996) yet stands on its own merits and will delight anyone who enjoys reading about chivalry, the Middle East, and a genetic mutation that allows some to harness magic in ways that are carefully guarded."
Publishers Weekly
Rawn weaves a rich tapestry of war, magic, and relationships in this historical fantasy prequel to 1996's The Golden Key. The Sheyqa Nizzira, despotic ruler of a Middle East–flavored land in the year 611, has meticulously planned to wipe out a large family of her rivals, murdering them down to the smallest child. When young wastrel Azzad al-Ma'alique misses his date with doom and flees, he sets in motion a complex revenge plot that will change the future of many lands and generations of both families. Gripping events build to a mid-book climax, but tension drops sharply in the second half, with a less clear trajectory and a sometimes bewildering array of characters. Toward the end, both the pace and the clarity pick up, though the developments feel less organic and more calculated. Rawn at her best remains a mesmerizing writer, and there is some of her best here. (Aug.)
Library Journal
As the only survivor of the massacre of his entire family by the ambitious Sheyqa Nizzira, Azzad Al-Ma'aliq flees into the desert, vowing vengeance. Finding favor and protection with a tribe of healers and talisman makers, Azzad defers his ambition in favor of a home and material wealth. When he finally strikes back, all seems accomplished—but the repercussions carry down to another generation, to his son Alessid. Rawn's prequel to 1996's The Golden Key marks her return to the high fantasy of her "Dragon Prince" (Dragon Prince; The Star Scroll; Sunrunner's Fire) and "Dragon Star" (Stronghold; The Dragon Token; Skybowl) series. VERDICT The desert setting and Arabian-Bedouin cultural trappings lend an exotic touch to a tale of loyalty, treachery, and love. The author's large readership as well as lovers of epic fantasy should enjoy this stand-alone prequel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756407414
  • Publisher: DAW
  • Publication date: 8/7/2012
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 775,875
  • Product dimensions: 4.37 (w) x 6.81 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

After receiving a B.A. in European History from Scripps College in Claremont, California, Melanie Rawn worked at Harcourt Brace and at the California Institute of Technology before becoming a teacher of English and history. She now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    In a sense, The Diviner is really two books, with a rather abrup

    In a sense, The Diviner is really two books, with a rather abrupt change
    of both plot and pace about halfway through, as Azzad al-Ma'aliq gives
    way to his son, Alessid. The problem is that the son cannot hold a
    candle to his father, either in personality or deeds. Azzad is a
    wonderful character, a man who rises above his flaws to become more than
    just means of retribution. He develops as he matures, exposing hidden
    facets of his personality that make him more endearing as the story
    progresses. I loved him as a hero, as a father, as a husband, and as a
    warrior. He is, without a doubt, one of Melanie's strongest characters.
    It's just a shame the book couldn't remain focussed on him. Alessid, by
    contrast, is entirely unlikable from the start, and what limited
    development he displays is, unfortunately, in the wrong direction. I was
    willing to give him the benefit of the doubt at first, understanding
    where he's come from and what kind of legacy he's inherited, but he was
    a disappointment. I neither liked nor respected him, and every time he
    disparaged his father's memory (which is far too often), he simply
    reminded me of the gulf between the two. In all fairness, Azzad's half
    of the novel was the far more interesting story, briskly paced, and
    interspersed with a few moments of reflection. I cared about what was
    happening, and I found myself anxiously turning pages, desperate to know
    what would happen next. Alessid's half of the novel was far less
    interesting, sluggishly paced, and bogged down with far too many
    marriages, births, and alliances. Instead of being anxious to find out
    what happens next, I found myself desperately flipping through pages,
    hoping to pick up a thread of story that would pull me back in. It's a
    shame Melanie couldn't maintain the magic of the first half, because
    there's a lot about the story to like. If she could have just given us
    more of the Sheyqa Nizzira, the truly chilling, scene-chewing villainess
    behind Azzad's flight into the desert, maybe there would have been no
    need to dwell on Alessid. Unfortunately, once we get beyond the
    bloodbath that begins the novel, she ceases to be anything other than a
    name, a title, a character who exists off-the-page as a focal point for
    vengeance. She had such promise - I would have really loved to explore
    her more. Characters and plotting aside, the Middle East flavouring is
    a nice change of pace from the typical European fantasy setting, and I
    loved exploring the origins of the magic that made The Golden Key so
    enthralling. There were some really nice stylistic touches here, and the
    quality of the writing itself is full of hints and promises of a return
    to form for Melanie. I'd like to think this was just a contractual
    obligation she forced herself through, to give her the freedom to do
    something new. Time will tell, but here's hoping her new trilogy
    follows through on that promise of a return to form, and once again
    demonstrates the love for her material that seemed lacking here.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is an exhilarating prequel fantasy (see The Golden Key) that takes off from the onset

    In 611 in the city of Dayira Azreyq during a gala the Glorious Majesty Sheyqa Nizzira has her assassins kill the powerful al Ma'alique family. However, one clan member lives, the profligate Azzad al-Ma'alique who was late due to female issues. He considers his options and concludes fleeing was the best course for now, but vowing revenge when he returns.

    He eludes the killers sent by Sheyqa as he reaches the desert. There he is fortunate that the enigmatic nomadic Shagara tribe of mages saves his life and provides him shelter. They protect him from the assassins as he begins his plan for avenging his family though he knows needs time to plan and deploy.

    This is an exhilarating prequel fantasy (see The Golden Key) that takes off from the onset. However, the Diviner feels like two books as just passed the half way point of the book, the story line reaches a climatic conclusion. From there a second story line picks up albeit much slower paced though well written. Still readers will enjoy the cost of vengeance to the avenging angel and the innocent collateral damaged victims.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2014

    Really enjoyed this book

    Melanie Rawn knows how to tell a story and this one is no exception. Great book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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