Friday, 7 August 1998

Julian May: The Golden Torc (1982)

Edition: Pan, 1982
Review number: 99

The second of May's Pliocene-set Saga of the Exiles series, The Golden Torc continues from where The Many Coloured Land left off. The humans from the group focused upon in the first novel are continuing to make a large contribution to the alien society they have found themselves in. Aiken Drum is insinuating himself into the highest echelons of society; Elizabeth is trying not to let the Tanu take advantage of her newly recovered mental capacity; Richard is still seeking Mercy (who in fact has married one of the Tanu aristocracy); Claude and Felice are with the rebel "Low-Lifes".

The novel builds to a climax at the annual battle between the Tanu and Firvulag; a variety of schemes involving the different members of the group are set to come to fruition at the tournament. They are all upstaged by the actions of Felice, who causes an earthquake which breaches the straits of Gibraltar and floods the Mediterranean with water from the Atlantic (the Mediterranean being a series of salt water marshes and lagoons at around this period, apparently), sweeping away the city of Muriah where the battle is taking place.

The book is well put together, and the climax is in the best traditions of science fiction.

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