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"The Ring of Five Dragons, however, is not purely a fantasy novel. It . . . is a fusion, blending and breaking the barriers between technology and sorcery, pragmatism and mysticism. . . . Lustbader, as always, is full of surprises." -Chicago Sun-Times
Eric Van Lustbader: The Pearl series had been in my head for a number of years. I did something with it I've actually never tried before -- I wrote a 50-page outline, and that's how my agent sold it to Tor. The book took just under a year to write. The first part came very quickly because it was more or less taken from the outline. But then I had to stop, because a number of fascinating characters were being born in my head that never appeared in the outline! This happens all the time when I'm writing, which is why I resist writing an outline. I may know more or less where the story is headed. I may even know the end -- even the very last scene. But all the wonderful spaces in between are created as the story moves forward. That's the most exciting part of writing for me. The series is projected to be six or seven books, and Tor has already asked me to consider a prequel that tells the story of Kundala before the V'ornn invasion. I have to admit, I hadn't thought of that one, but I must say it interests me greatly.
B&N.com: There were some great characters in this novel -- the twin Kundalan sorceresses Giyan and Bartta; Annon Ashera, the eldest son of the V'ornn regent; the Kundalan orphan, Riane; the genetically altered Gyrgon, Nith Sahor; and Thigpen, the mysterious Rappa. Did you enjoy writing about one character, or group of characters, more than the others?
EVL: Another great thing about writing is that your characters have a habit of surprising you. That's how you know they're really alive, that what you've written is truly vibrant. Giyan is one of those characters who was in the original outline but who quickly outgrew her original design. I simply fell in love with her. Her character is so rich; she holds so many secrets it's heartbreaking. And yet she is strong and courageous. Neither Nith Sahor nor Thigpen were in the outline. I had no idea when I began that a Gyrgon would come to the fore in the story line of the first book, but Nith Sahor had a fiercely strong character and simply shouldered his way in. As for Thigpen, I have a red panda at home. Not a real one, you understand; I think that would be illegal. Anyway, I was staring at her one day and all of a sudden Thigpen popped into my head, full-blown. I saw her as smart, tenacious and with a wry sense of humor. From the beginning, I wanted to find some natural way to inject an element of humor into a very serious story. That's Thigpen.
B&N.com: Although the new culture being created on Kundala between the natives and the V'ornn is filled with horrifying injustices, there is always the hope of the coming of the Dar Sala-at, the One destined to free the Kundalan from servitude. There is also the dream of the V'ornn regent, Eleusis Ashera, of Za Hara-at, the first city where Kundalan and V'ornn trade freely and as equals. I loved the fact that the Dar Sala-at was both Kundalan and V'ornn, although hardly anyone knows it. How did you come up with the character of Riane?
EVL: Again, this is part of me -- or at least the holistic way I see the world. I think we've all heard that there is some female in all males and vice versa. I feel that very deeply. But being something of a sociologist (it was my major at Columbia, after all), and having talked to a lot of teens, I am increasingly aware of how many of them feel as if they are outsiders, unable to connect with the mainstream of society. I wanted the most vivid illustration of that for my protagonist. Riane is truly a stranger in a strange land. Not only is Annon a male in an alien body, but it's a female body, to boot! Don't you think it would be wonderful if males could be placed inside a female (and vice versa) for just a week to see what it was like? How many misconceptions and arguments could be avoided! It's an intriguing fantasy that I've brought to life.
B&N.com: Aside from the brilliantly realized world of Kundala and its fascinating inhabitants and cultures, the one thing that stands out about this novel is its intensity. The sequence involving Eleana's desperate battle against a Khagggun soldier and her unlikely rescue exemplify the whole novel. Reading this novel was definitely an intense experience. Was writing this novel emotionally draining or exhilarating? EVL: Of all the novels I've written, this one most reminds me of my first bestseller, The Ninja, inasmuch as I was so psyched writing it that I had no time to get exhausted. The same was true for The Ring of Five Dragons. I did take a vacation in Europe just before writing the last part of the book, and that gave me the time to feel all my characters breathing and living, and to know absolutely what was right for them -- what their destinies were going to be. There's a lot of symmetry to the book that makes it such a satisfying read. For instance, Annon and his childhood friend/enemy Kurgan echo the friend/foe relationship of the twin sorceresses Giyan and Bartta. It was also fun embedding things you will be able to return to after reading the following volumes and say, "Wow, this is how it all began," or "This is why he or she ended up this way." It's like seeding a treasure hunt that evolves over many volumes. That was quite a challenge, let me tell you, but it was tremendous fun for all that!
B&N.com: I'm sure that once The Ring of Five Dragons hits the bookstores, there will be a mass of fantasy fans frothing at the mouth awaiting the next book in The Pearl saga to find out what happens to Riane, the prophesied Dar Sala-at, Giyan and Eleana. What is the tentative title of the second Pearl novel, and can you give us a hint as to what's going to happen in the next book?
EVL: The second volume is called The Veil of One Thousand Tears. I'm about a third of the way through it, so don't worry, it will be out in May 2002! I don't want to give too much away, but I can tell you some things. For instance, something happens to Giyan at the very beginning of the book that was set in motion in The Ring of Five Dragons, and it's bad -- very bad. Also, a lot of the book takes place in an area of Kundala we've only heard about, a fascinating, enigmatic place called the Korrush. We learn much more about the Gyrgon and what's happening with Nith Batoxxx, which will surprise just about everybody. And Eleana will have her baby; but, again, the outcome won't be anything that you would expect. This book deals much more deeply with gender relations: Riane's feelings toward Eleana, what it means to be a female in Kundalan society, how Riane explores her own feelings of love and sexuality. These are key issues that everyone grapples with as they're growing up. I could go on, but I won't, because surprises are meant to be savored, don't you think?
Eric Van Lustbader is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Ninja, White Ninja, and French Kiss. Beginning in the 1970s, Eric Van Lustbader began a hugely successful writing career. His novels have been translated into over twenty languages, and are bestsellers worldwide. Now, with The Ring of Five Dragons and The Veil of a Thousand Tears, he presents a towering fantasy epic like none his legions of fans have every seen.
Eric Van Lustbader lives in the Hamptons on Long Island, New York.
ABOUT THE RING OF FIVE DRAGONS
In this first volume of Eric Van Lustbader’s fantasy series, The Pearl, the Kundalan people—a spiritual, nature-based society—have suffered for a century under the viciously oppressive, technologically superior V’ornn, invaders without their own world, who roam from planet to planet, conquering and plundering one society after another.
In the 101 years since the V’ornn invasion, Kundalan society has found itself gripped by a crisis of faith, certain that it has been abandoned by the Goddess Miina. As a result, Kundalan religion has fallen under the control of evil forces from within—including corrupt and powerhungry leaders who forbid the teaching of traditional Kundalan sorcery.
The V’ornn’s leaders, the Gyrgon, are a caste of brilliant technomages whose motives and desires remain largely unfathomable even to those in the highest levels of V’ornn society. It is the Gyrgon quest for immortality that has driven the V’ornn to conquer one world after another. Now, the Gyrgon want the lost Ring of Five Dragons, the key to the door of the fabled Kundalan Storehouse, and perhaps to Kundalan sorcery, which the Gyrgon believe can ultimately prevail over death itself. But in the wrong hands, the Ring will become a mechanism of annihilation for both the V’orrn and their Kundalan subjects. Only the hero of Kundalan prophecy, a legendary figure known as the Dar Salat, can wield the sorcerous power needed to save the world by stopping what the misuse of the Ring has set in motion.
As the story begins, the V’orrn are led by the current regent Eleusis Ashera, who is no ordinary V’ornn. Years ago Ashera took as his mistress a powerfully gifted Kundalan sorceress named Giyan, originally a prisoner, with whom he fell deeply in love. Giyan ultimately returned his feelings, and has raised his son, Annon, into adolescence.
From Gyan, Ashera has learned the value of Kundalan belief and magic, and he has set in motion a grand plan to construct Za Hara-at, a city where Kundalan and V’ornn can live and work peacefully together. But powerful forces in the Kundalan military, commerce, and politics conspire against him, and Ashera and most of his family are killed in a bloody palace coup. Only his son, Annon, escapes with Giyan, and the two begin their quest to bring the Dar Sala-at and the Ring of Five Dragons together—the only hope of saving Kundala. It is never a clear path: enemies surround them, driven by their own lust for power—not only V’ornn, but even Giyan’s corrupt and powerful twin sister Bartta, leader of the abbey where Kundalan religious, known as the Ramahan, have always trained. And friends and allies come from the least likely groups—even from the ranks of the vicious Khagggun soldiers, who have hunted, tortured, and killed the Kundalan for a century.
Once the identity of the Dar Sala-at is known, it becomes clear that the elementally powerful forces have been unleashed, and that the fate of Kundala hangs in the balance. Can stealth, cleverness, a network of underground compatriots, and the power of Giyan’s sorcerous Gift protect Giyan and Annon until the Dar Sala-at and the Ring can be united?
Posted July 28, 2012
**PLEASE READ THE REVIEW, DON'T JUST COUNT THE STARS**
I have been a fan of Lustabder for decades, having devoured the Linnear novels as they came out. After a long break, I found this series and was immediately hooked -the world of Kundala is a wonderful creation as are the strong very modern characters and the comparison of sorcery and corrupt sorcerers as one source of power and science and corrupt scientists as the other. Unfortunately, its obvious that there was supposed to be a book four and so book three was a HUGE disappointment with nearly none of the conflicts that developed over the prior fifteen hundred pages satisfactorily resolved.
*Book one -awesome!
*Book two, pretty good.
*Book three? Lustbader's excuse to exit the series (uncompleted) to go write the Bourne novels.
There should be a warning label on this series indicating that you are about to take on more than fifteen hundred pages only to say "huh?" at the end of the last book. It should warn you that, when you then likely to go to the author's website to figure out what happened, you will find out he simply abandoned the series it when a more lucrative offer came along. Really, its on his website.
Posted October 1, 2008
This book was pretty good. It was fast moving and you would miss alot if you tried to skip pages. Alot of twist and turns, and more action than what I thought there would be. It is a combination of Star Trek,Lord of the Rings, magic, and asian culture. I am not a big reader but the ring of five dragons I couldn't put down, and can't wait to move forward to veil of a thousand tears and mistress of the pearl. I have read other books by Lustbader and so far I'm not disappointed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 19, 2007
I have just finished this book and have ordered the two remaining books, 'The Veil of a Thousand Tears' and 'The Pearl'. Every sfi-fantasy fan should have this trilogy in their library. Great author - Great story line - Great imagination which probably surpasses J K Rowling of Harry Potter fame. The female characters exude strength and honor even though there are difficult times presented to them by males they always overcome them.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 4, 2005
Posted December 9, 2003
this is the first book I have read by this author and I will try other of his books. Some of his terms were confusing with is true of a lot of S/F or fantacy books. It has a lot of volence so I would not recommend it for a young readership, saying that, the story has a lot of detail that I had to sometime go back and reread a section to make sure I understood and there it was! Many things are indicated but not completed so It wets your mind to know more. I normally would not pick a book with 572 pages, but I am glad I did.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 23, 2003
I borrowed this from a friend and I am 90 pages from the end. I havent been able to put it down today! It is so captivating and amazing! I was so disapointed that I am getting close to the end, but I just now found out that it is a series!!! Now I am very excited again! I am buying both of them right now so that I have a copy of my own and read the second one!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 20, 2002
The story literally takes U away from everyday ordinary life into a magical world of soceresses, ancient nomadic races, advanced technology etc. Features very strong female characters, who dominate & shape most of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 19, 2002
One of the signs of a great writer is the ability to write something totally different from what you are familar with.Lustbader the man who wrote so thrilling Nicholas Linnear ninja books returns to fantasy in this lavish epic fantasy series called the Pearl. He takes us to the world of Kundalan where it's inhabitants have been enslaved for over a century by the brutal offworld empire of the V'ornn.The Kundalan people who use traditional sorcery and religion see their society undermined from within by evil forces who seek to stop their use of magic.The only hope they have is prophecy of a messiah, The Dar Sala-at who is the only person who can wield the magic powerful enough to save their world! I was totally immersed in this epic saga! Lustbader's world-building skills are tremendous as he takes you step by step into his wondrous world in a story that is equal parts Dune and Wheel of Time.You will watch as scenes of machivellian intrigues among the ruling V'ornn and religious Kundalann people as betrayal and treachery are the norms of this war-torn planet.And you will be shocked by the sinister powers of Gyrgon, the mysterious rulers of the V'ornn. The characters come alive on through the pages of the epic saga:the twin sisters, Giyan and Batta who's destinies with the Dar Sala-at will put them at odds with each other.Eleusis Ashera, the kind-hearted V'ornn regent who's forward thinking policies for the planet seals his doom.The evil Wennn Stogggul, Ashera's most hated rival on the planet.and last but not least, Annon Ashera, Eleusis son, who's transformation will decide the fate of this world!So pick up this book and be prepare to enter a realm of adventure, romance and intrigue that you will never forget!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 14, 2002
Posted August 1, 2002
Posted March 21, 2002
Posted February 7, 2002
The jacket of this book compares this to the works of Brooks, Eddings and others. I feel the writer of this should be sued for false advertising. The overall story seems very shallow and is full of far too much violence and cruelty to make this and enjoyable read. War is heck and all, but unlike the aforementioned authors, Lustbader seems to revel in detailing the monstrous acts committed by his characters. The vagueness regarding the supernatural/magical aspects does not tantalize like Eddings or Brooks but simply leaves one puzzled about how this strange and destructive world he has created functions.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 14, 2001
Over a century ago, the vicious V¿ornn conquered the peaceful Kundala as the military superiority and the amoral ability to kill overwhelmed the more spiritual people. Brutally enslaved by their conquerors, the Kundala cannot understand why the Goddess Miina abandoned them. The younger Kundala are leaving the ancient beliefs for a new religion as the V¿ornn force their culture on the losers with little counter absorption. <P>Unlike their drones, the V¿ornn leadership covet whatever is hidden inside the Kundalan Storehouse where they expect all sorts of sorcery secrets to be found, including eternal life. However they need to find the RING OF FIVE DRAGONS to open the door to the mystical storehouse. If they succeed, will the V¿ornn obtain their desires, will they set in motion a doomsday scenario destroying everyone, or will they inadvertently begin the fulfilling of a prophecy that forecasts a Kundalan freedom fighter leading a resistance? <P>When the RING OF FIVE DRAGONS concentrates on the social interactions and upheavals between the two distinct societies, the novel is a superior fantasy tale. That part of the story line is incredibly insightful as it feels like the German blitzkrieg of Europe, especially when the bellicose V¿ornn impact the culture of the pastoral Kundalan. When the story line returns to traditional epic fantasy, it retains its high level of quality and remains a fun to read adventure, but the plot is not any different from some of the other well-written genre tales. Eric Van Lustbader has written a fabulous book that fantasy readers will find entertaining and insightful, but could have been a cultural milestone if it stayed the interrelationship course. <P>Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 24, 2001
Posted December 9, 2008
Over a century ago, the vicious V¿ornn conquered the peaceful Kundala as the military superiority and the amoral ability to kill overwhelmed the more spiritual people. Brutally enslaved by their conquerors, the Kundala cannot understand why the Goddess Miina abandoned them. The younger Kundala are leaving the ancient beliefs for a new religion as the V¿ornn force their culture on the losers with little counter absorption. <P> Unlike their drones, the V¿ornn leadership covet whatever is hidden inside the Kundalan Storehouse where they expect all sorts of sorcery secrets to be found, including eternal life. However they need to find the RING OF FIVE DRAGONS to open the door to the mystical storehouse. If they succeed, will the V¿ornn obtain their desires, will they set in motion a doomsday scenario destroying everyone, or will they inadvertently begin the fulfilling of a prophecy that forecasts a Kundalan freedom fighter leading a resistance? <P> When the RING OF FIVE DRAGONS concentrates on the social interactions and upheavals between the two distinct societies, the novel is a superior fantasy tale. That part of the story line is incredibly insightful as it feels like the German blitzkrieg of Europe, especially when the bellicose V¿ornn impact the culture of the pastoral Kundalan. When the story line returns to traditional epic fantasy, it retains its high level of quality and remains a fun to read adventure, but the plot is not any different from some of the other well-written genre tales. Eric Van Lustbader has written a fabulous book that fantasy readers will find entertaining and insightful, but could have been a cultural milestone if it stayed the interrelationship course. <P>Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 16, 2001
Mr. Van Lustbader is the author of quite a few excellent books. This is not one of them. It reads like an outline for a series of books. The people and the situations just zip in and out, without rhyme or reason. Things and ideas come out of no-where and seem to drift back there, quite casually. I find it extremely hard to believe that this was written by the same writer who penned 'White Ninja'. Nearly unbelievable.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 6, 2001
Just over one hundred years ago, the V'ronn invaded the planet Kundala. They immediately gained control of the planet through their advanced technology and the vicious oppression of the citizens of Kundala. The people of Kundala are losing faith with their goddess Miina: not understanding why their goddess disappeared when the V'ronn arrived and why she allows the savage invaders to terrorize and kill them. As evil forces begin to appear behide the scenes of the Kundala abbeys, a new religion appears, one that denies the very existence of sorcery. The people of Kundala have not only lost their freedom to the V'ronn's, they have also lost their spirituality. The cruel treatment, torture and murdering of captured Kundalans has a secret purpose. The leaders of the V'ronn- the technomage caste of Gyrgon- are searching for the RING OF FIVE DRAGONS. This ring is believed to be the key that will open the fabled door of the Storehouse and, quite possibly, the key to understanding Kundalan sorcery. When the Ring is discovered, the Gyrgons attempt to unlock the door with disastrous results. Not only do they fail, the attempt enables a destruction device on a countdown to annihilation that will destroy the planet, the Kundalans and the V'ronns. The Dar Sala-at, whom it is written will come and lead the people to freedom, is the only person who can stop the destruction. But the Dar Sala-at is only a prophecy, right? The race begins to locate the Dar Sala-at and save Kundala. RING OF FIVE DRAGONS is THE best book I've read this year. It is the first novel in an epic fantasy series called THE PEARL. The author, Eric Van Lustbader, has entertained millions around the world with his prior adventure and action stories, such as Ninja and French Kiss. Now he proves that he can write topnotch fantasy as well. There are several storylines in RING OF FIVE DRAGONS, yet he does a wonderful job of maintaining tense scenes while furthering the plot on several levels. Conflict between the V'ronn and the Kundalans is a given, but he shows the conflict and betrayals within the same species as well. All of the characters are described with such vivid words that they seem to leap out of the book and into the readers imagination. Their struggles, loves and conflicts are brought out clearly and this results in the reader caring about what happens to each character, even the V'ronn. Van Lustbader shows that even the enemy can have a good side with the example of a Gyrgon who rebels against his caste members when he knows they are wrong. The plot, as said previously, works on several levels and has as many twists and turns as a rollercoaster and will keep the reader breathless as each scene flows into the next. The tension tightens with each chapter, the betrayals and the unexpected friendships that are formed and the characters themselves will keep the reader turning pages long into the night. This is a book that is very hard to stop reading once started and even when I did stop, I found myself thinking of the story and wondering what would happen next. It isn't often that an established author in one genre can turn around and write a winner in another, but Mr Van Lustbander does precisely this. He has written such a fascinating novel that I truly hated to see it end. I can't wait for the next installment of THE PEARL and I know that I'll be rereading this one often until the next one comes out. I very highly recommend that you treat yourself to THE RING OF FIVE DRAGONS, settle back and be entertained by a master!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 30, 2011
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Posted March 28, 2012
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