Legends Walking: A Novel of the Athanor

Overview

In the emergent Nigerian city of Monamona, a scourge once eradicated has resurfaced—a terrible disease reintroduceed into the world by a fanatic who may or may not be athanor: Shopona, the one time God of Smallpox. Conquering Aferica withplague is only the first step in this madman's dream of power. There are those who oppose him, and they willneed the help of the shapeshifter Changer—Perhaps the Earth's oldest being— to prevail.

But Changer has problems of his own: a wild ...

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Overview

In the emergent Nigerian city of Monamona, a scourge once eradicated has resurfaced—a terrible disease reintroduceed into the world by a fanatic who may or may not be athanor: Shopona, the one time God of Smallpox. Conquering Aferica withplague is only the first step in this madman's dream of power. There are those who oppose him, and they willneed the help of the shapeshifter Changer—Perhaps the Earth's oldest being— to prevail.

But Changer has problems of his own: a wild daughter, Shahrazad—a free sperit, unchained and idomitable, testing the limits of her powers against new realities in a new world. And even the combined efforts of Athur, the Changer, and Shahrazad may notbe enough. For the fanatic master of diseaseis not only creature of legend who seeks to walk like a god among men.In the emergent Nigerian city of Monamona, a scourge once eradicated has resurfaced-a terrible disease reintroduced into the world by a fanatic who may or may not be athanor:Shopona, the onetime God of Smallpox, Conquering Africa with plague is only the first step in this madman's dream of power. There are those who oppose him, and they will need the help of the shapeshifter Changer-perhaps the Earth's oldest being-to prevail.

But Changer has problems of his own: a wild daughter, Shahrazad-a free spirit, unchained and indomitable, testing the limits of her powers against new realities in a new world. And even the combined efforts of Arthur, the Changer, and Shahrazad may not be enough. For the fanatic master of disease is not the only creature of legend who seeks to walk like a god among men.

Author Biography:

JANE LINDSKOLD is the author of Brother to Dragons; Companion to Owls; Marks of our Brothers; The Pipes of Orpheus; Smoke and Mirrors; When the Gods Are Silent; and the recently published Changer. She also completed Roger Zelazny's penultimate novel Donnerjack. Educated at New York's Fordham University, she now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT
The Athanor are back and are most welcome. These immortals, along with King Arthur, Anansi, the yeti and other gods and legends living secretly in the world of mortal creatures, must deal with new dangers. The Changer takes his coyote daughter, Sharazad, to Saint Francis' ranch to be socialized. He fears she is too dependent on him for safety. The Changer knows Sharazad is athanor but does not know the extent of her power. In the meantime, Anansi, known as Anson, goes to Nigeria with Arthur's assistant Eddie. They hope to improve the lives of the average Nigerian by making an oil deal with a Japanese athanor. Big problems arise when this athanor, Katsuhiro by name, is kidnapped. The evil Regis hopes to gain power and wealth and has manufactured the once-extinct smallpox virus, unleashing this horrible disease on the town of Monomona. Several story threads plus some new characters force the reader to pay attention. They are woven together in a seamless blend of action and humor. A ripping good fantasy. Let's hope we see more of the athanor. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Avon/Eos, 404p, 18cm, 99-94998, $6.99. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Susan E. Chmurynsky; Media Spec., E. Kentwood Freshman Campus, Kentwood, MI, May 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 3)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380788507
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/28/1999
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.92 (h) x 1.24 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The more you love your children the more care you should take
to neglect them occasionally. The web of affection can be drawn too tight.
— D. Sutten

Life has its own scent. Contrary to common belief, there is nothing light or floral about it. Rather, it is akin to the yeasty scent of rising dough or the earthy richness of freshly turned soil.

Catching this scent one morning upon the wind blowing from the Sandia Mountains of New Mexico, the Changer knows that the change he has been considering is upon him. Without further hesitation, he barks.

His sharp-voiced summons is answered by the emergence of his daughter from beneath the gnarled juniper where she has been drowsing. Twigs and dried juniper foliage cling to her fur. She yawns and shakes, emitting a jaw-creaking whine.

When she is alert, Changer begins walking, setting his course downhill, out of this patch of autumn sunshine, ultimately out of the mountains. His daughter follows him without question, partly from trust, partly because she lacks the vocabulary to ask anything as simple as "Where are we going, Dad?"

The baby weeps, his little brown face 'twisted tight but his eyes wide open as if he seeks to make sense of a universe that hurts so very much. His infant skin is thickly marked with swollen pustules, dark red and running against cocoacolored skin.

His mother, a young woman just out of college, cradles him in her hands, gently lowering him into a basin of water in the hope of bringing down his fever. The water is tepid, but it seems to bring some comfort. The baby stops crying. After a moment, his motherrealizes that he has stopped breathing as well. She screams.

The dull slap of bare feet on an earthen floor answers her cries. A shadow darkens the door to a bedroom now become a death chamber. Beyond the shadow can be heard the murmur of many voices, gossiping, conjecturing, a few raised to wail, but the shadow does not speak.

It crosses the room and in the light from the partially curtained window resolves into a large woman, full-breasted and mature, but lovely as a ripe yam is lovely. She lifts the infant's body from where his mother's hands still cradle it within the cooling water.

"He has been taken by this illness," the older woman says, "as are so many others."

"Oh, Oya, how I hate the King of Heaven!" the young woman sobs.

"So do I, Aduke," Oya answers, studying the girl quizzically. I think the time has come to make him answer."

Chris Kristofer opens the front door of the hacienda at Pendragon Estates to find a tall, lean man standing in the sandstone entryway. The man's black hair is long and loose. He wears nothing but a pair of red-nylon gym shorts, this despite the fact that the overcast November day is anything but warm.

"I want to use the telephone," the man says in a deep, gravelly voice.

The last time Chris had seen this man he had lacked an eye, but now he has two, both the same yellow as those of the young reddish gold coyote bitch sitting on her haunches beside him. Catching Chris's glance her way, the coyote thumps her tail in greeting.

Clearing his throat, Chris says, "Come right this way, sir. You're the Changer, right?"

"Yes."

The Changer doesn't seem inclined to say more, but when Chris started this job a month and a half before, he had been given a short list of people who were to be assisted without question. The Changer had topped this list. So now Chris leads the Changer into an empty seminar room and indicates the telephone.

"Is that all, sir?"

"Get me Frank MacDonald's number."

Chris pulls an electronic organizer from his pocket and scribbles a number on the pad by the phone.

"And tell Arthur I'm here."

"Yes, sir."

"And don't call me 'sir.

Chris exits without another word, noting as he does so that the young coyote has happily settled down to chew on the comer of an expensive handwoven rug.

"Arthur?" Chris enters the King's office after a polite tap at the door. "You have a guest."

the athanor who is once again using the name Arthur Pendragon looks up wearily from his computer screen and glowers at the human standing in the doorway. Chris Kristofer is an Anglo of average height and average build. His brown hair is neither too long, nor too short. His hazel-green eyes behind large wire-rimmed glasses are intelligent. There is nothing distasteful about his appearance, except that he is not the person whom Arthur wishes was there.

"Yes? Does this person have an appointment?"

Chris knows perfectly well that the King resents him. However, he also knows that keeping this job is a matter of life or death for him—Literally. He schools his voice to patience and answers:

"It's the Changer, Arthur."

"Oh!" Arthur's blue eyes widen. He stands, smoothing his neat, reddish gold beard in a thoughtful gesture. In—that attitude, he no longer looks like a slightly overweight desk jockey. He looks like the king he has been in many lifetimes. "Ask the Changer if he will come to me here."

Chris hesitates. "Shahrazad is with him, sir. 99

Arthur remembers the young coyote with a fondness that is tinged by memory of the destruction she can. create.

"I see. The day is too chilly for us to sit in the courtyard. Ask the Changer to come to the kitchen. He'll be hungry after his journey. Shapeshifters always are:'

"Yes, sir."

Another thought strikes Arthur.

'Is the Changer wearing anything?"

"Gym shorts."

Arthur sighs. Doubtless the shorts are stolen. The Changer not only has no respect for personal property, he doesn't really acknowledge its existence.

"Chris, there are clothes that should fit the Changer in one of the ground-floor guest rooms. Ask him if he...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2008

    Good book

    This was an interesting but unsatisfying sequel to The Changer by Jane Lindskold. It takes the classic King Arthur character and puts him in a modern day fantasy setting. Jane Lindskold provided exquisite detail about some Nigerian customs and beliefs. The detail was thoroughly researched, but was a bit tedious. The storyline was not what I expected. I was expecting a book focused on the exploits of the Changer and his daughter. Instead, Legends Walking is more about Eddie and Anson (Ananzi)doing the typical "save the world" storyline. Along with this, there is two other storylines that do not merge at the end. It leaves you hanging. This was a source of annoyance for me. The series doesn't feel finished. Jane Lindskold should write another book about the Athanor to wrap this series up more completely.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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