Giving the Tolkienian epic an extreme makeover

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 4:09 PM EST

David Anthony Durham kicked Fat Fantasy ass with Acacia, which ended up winning him the most recent John W. Campbell Award for the best new science fiction or fantasy writer. He continues his extreme makeover of the Tolkienian epic in The Other Lands: Book Two of The Acacia Trilogy.

After the assassination of King Leodan Akaran, three of his four heirs oppose the mist—a powerful drug used to sedate his subjects—and the quota—a trade in child slaves. Unfortunately, they're not the ones who inherit the Acacian Empire.

Queen Corinn refines the drug and sells ever more children across the sea. And she maintains her power by turning to The Song of Elenet. She doesn't realize her misuse of this secret magic is damaging the world and herself.

She also doesn't realize entire nations and tribes are plotting against her, including the adult slaves her empire sold as children. But, when her foes finally strike, Corinn will stop at nothing to defeat them. And, with The Song of Elenet, she can even bring back the dead. ...

The above description scarcely scratches the surface of The Other Lands, so newcomers to the series had better start with Acacia. Meanwhile, series fans should know that though The Other Lands resolves its storyline, the war between the Known World and the Other Lands has only just begun.