The Named Lands find no end to conflict, as the Y'Zrite faithful battle followers of the Androfrancine Order, and Rudolfo, the Gypsy King, tries to maneuver through a minefield of intrigue and politics. But his wife and infant son are endangered by a member of his household, and the mechaservitor Isaak is believed destroyed in an underground explosion. VERDICT The latest novel in "The Psalms of Isaak" series (Lamentation; Canticle; Antiphon) takes the action and political machinations a step higher in terms of complexity and subtlety. While newcomers should start with the first book, series fans should have no trouble keeping up. A glossary of people, places, and terms provides useful definitions, particularly for those fresh to the series.
After three books (Lamentation, Canticle, and Antiphon) and a three-year break, Scholes resumes the Psalms of Isaak series with this intricate adventure. Rudolfo, the Gypsy King, deals with political intrigue, treachery, and the constant threat of the Y’Zirite armies. Isaak, the wayward mechoservitor, is found by the farmgirl Marta. Pope Petronus delves into ancient secrets, laying bare the layers of myth stretching over the centuries. Rumors and prophecies suggest that soon the long-broken world will be healed at last. Fitting with the frequent incorporation of dreams into the story, the narrative has a removed, almost hallucinatory feel; even when things happen, they happen in nebulous ways. Science fiction and fantasy elements overlap seamlessly, bringing Scholes’s far-future post-apocalyptic world to life in captivating detail. While new readers will be lost in the myriad plotlines, characters, and alien concepts, fans will undoubtedly enjoy this continuation of the saga. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, the Donald Maass Literary Agency. (June)
“A diverse cast of dynamic characters, a tantalizingly labyrinthine mystery, a world full of wonders, and powerful symbolism and imagery power this seamless merging of epic fantasy and science fiction.” Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Antiphon
“Not only is Scholes a capable world-builder, he ably handles the tough task of keeping the series momentum going, intensifying the mystery so deftly that even if readers can't foresee where the story's going, it's clear that the author knows exactly what he's doing.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review on Canticle
The long-awaited fourth and penultimate installment of the sci-fi/fantasy saga The Psalms of Isaak (Antiphon, 2010, etc.) takes off running and doesn't stop. A generations-spanning plan has borne its violent fruit, and the Y'Zirites, an empire of religious zealots who believe that ritual bloodletting and scarification "heal the world," are on the verge of conquering the Named Lands. However, various factions of resistance are prepared to make their last stand. The remaining armies plot one final, devastating act of sabotage. In accordance with a message from her long-dead grandfather, Lady Jin Li Tam intends to assassinate Y'Zir's mysterious Crimson Empress. Jin's husband, Gypsy King Rudolfo, pretends to collaborate with the conquerors while secretly plotting their defeat. Meanwhile, Jin's father, Vlad Li Tam, now possessed of a devastating magical artifact, pursues his own terrible purpose in Y'Zir. And those are only some of the threads of a complexly woven story (others include exploring the ruins of a highly advanced civilization on the moon and the desperate flight of an amnesiac mechoservitor and the little girl who loves him). Jumping into the series at this point is decidedly inadvisable, but readers of previous volumes will be enthralled--and entirely occupied with keeping track of which side everyone's on, as the genuine and the elaborately faked betrayals pile up. As various parts of the epic's plotlines become clearer, motivations become murkier; it's still anyone's guess how this will end. Exciting, dizzying, heartbreaking.