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Posted June 25, 2010
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This book reminded me of 'The Spell Sword' in a lot of ways except for one, the misuse of laran.
Barron is a Terran who works in spaceport dispatch. It's a very stressful job that many do not last in doing, and Darkover (Cottman IV) is a major pivot on long-distance hypertravel because it is situated conveniently between the High Arm and Low Arm of the Galaxy. The dispatcher's job is to safely manage travel among the spaceships, cargo, passenger transits, mapping ships, and various tractors and surface machinery for servicing all of those, in the Terran Trade City. Barron has joyfully and successfully performed his job with no mishaps, until now. He has an episode, and a tragic disaster is narrowly avoided, irreparably marking up his Space Service record. Because the planet is so harsh, and the job is so overwhelmingly stressful, it is next to impossible to get someone new transferred in.
The Commander Legate sends Barron to assist the Altons in some elementary Terran technology that will greatly assist in the detection of the disastrous fires that wipe out a lot of the planet's timber and wildlife. He isn't able to ship Barron off planet, because he can't prove that the accident wasn't Barron's fault. Barron continues to slip in and out of his own consciousness.
The Storn Castle is attacked and infiltrated by the brute and rogue Brynat Scarface. Edric is tortured and imprisoned; Allira of Storn is forced to marry the bandit, legitimizing his claim on Storn, while Melitta of Storn is telepathically told to escape by the blind Storn of Storn. She escapes with the bravery and determination of any man, climbing the castle walls, braving the unforgiving cold and snow, and conquering her fear of the unknown in the dark secret tunnels and caves.
Barron is befriended by Lerrys, (from 'The Bloody Sun'), and through him learns that he is seeing the Darkover deity Sharra. Things get really intense, (and finally interesting), when Barron steals one of the Alton's horses to meet Melitta in Carthon. Melitta is surprised to find out that Barron is Loran Storn and not the strange Terran before her. However, once Barron walks through a field psychic dampener, Loran is forced to lose his link to Barron's mind.
Will Loran pay for the Darkovan taboo, meddling with another's soul? How will Melitta and Barron be able to regain their rightful possession of Storn Castle, free Edric, and save her sister Allira from Brynat's dirty hands, before it is too late? What is the reason behind Barron's puzzling visions of Sharra?
Posted April 20, 2010
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