The Glass of Dyskornis
Book #2 of the Gandalara Cycle
By Randall Garrett and Vicki Ann Heydron
Published by Audible Studios
Read by Paul Boehmer
Rikardon (the human now in Markasset’s body) knows he needs a way to make a productive living in Gandalara, but has returned to his adoptive father’s home in Raithskar to discover he has more offers than he truly wants and none of them are entirely to his liking. Naturally, he does the mature thing and runs off only to find himself forced into the position of accepting the chieftainship of the Sharith, an ancient military culture who have bonded with the giant warcats, the Sha’um (just as Ricardon has). Yeah, okay, that’s not an entirely fair description of how the book starts.
Once in motion, Rikardon continues looking for the gem he was accused of stealing in the first book (the Ra’ira) and the murderer who stole it. Along the way he picks up two unlikely allies, a beautiful illusionist and her fiancé, the son of the man who formerly led the Sharith, who also hates Rikardon for displacing his father. It makes for an interesting dynamic.
A lot of reviewers have attempted to figure out where Garrett’s influence dropped off this series and where Heydron’s picked it up. I don’t really know, but if forced to guess, I would say Rikardon was a classic Garrett character – strong-will, man of action, but that in this second book we see far more of Heydron in Tarani, the psionic illusionist. Together they lift this series up from a John Carter knock-off to something that now stands on its own. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Paul Boehmer once again puts in a strong performance. My only complaint is his pronunciation of Dyskornis and for all I know, he might be correct. That’s the odd thing about made-up names; unless the author includes a pronunciation guide you kind of have to work it out for yourself. I’m not sure how many authors worry that much about how the names of their characters are pronounced by others. I know when that’s seems important to me, I simply use real names rater than making them up, but when on an alien world the names ought to sound alien. In my own mind I use a modified version of how I pronounced Latin in high school (using supposed classical, not church, pronunciation). Hearing something read with a pronunciation different than I imagined it can be a bit unsettling, but it only really bothers me when it is just wrong. Mister Boehmer made a decision and went with it. I can deal with that.
Beyond that one bit, he read as well as always without resort to funny voices or over-acting, so all-in-all that book was a good continuation of the series and it was read well.