The Bronze of Eddarta
Book #3 of the Gandalara Cycle
By Randall Garrett and Vickie Ann Heydron
Published by Audible Studios
Read by Paul Boehmer
This book picks up with the second volume left off. The second (The Glass of Dyskornis) did not really end in a satisfying manner to me. It mostly just stopped. Had there been a large neon sign saying “To be continued” that came with the book it could not have been more obvious. I know that this is common in long story arcs, but a good author should try to at least bring a story line to a good stopping point and not just stop writing. On the other hand, I have to admit that I have done the same thing a few times, so knowing what best practices are, is not the same as following them…
Anyway, this time I was better satisfied as our heroes; Rikardon, Tarani and (oh heck! I’ve forgotten the third name… well, he’s a somewhat cardboard cut-out character… so far at least) continue on to recover the Ra’ira (a sort of magical stone that enhances psionic powers in those that have them). There continues to be the inevitable John Carterish nature to the story; Rikardon has a sort of natural ability to resist all but the strongest psionic control due to his unique “double mind,” but at least he is not the greatest warrior on any world and capable of jumping as though wearing seven-league boots.
The story is solid, if a bit vintage in style, but that is much of what I like about it. A lot of more recently-written stories gets gritty where it is not entirely necessary all in the name of a “Realism,” that is only sometimes necessary. Some authors, I think, do not realize that we all have different world-views and not everyone enjoys a dystopia. (I may have said this before, but I find dystopias to be a lazy form of writing. It is easy to find dramatic tension where everything is wrong. It is much more challenging to build it credibly in a world where life is neither perfect nor perfectly imperfect… but that’s me.) The world Rikardon finds himself in, while a fantasy construction is neither good nor evil. It is made of different people living their lives in different ways. Yes, there are outlaw types and there are those who oppose them and there are those who simply mind their own business. It feels like a real world even with the fantasy elements.
I will not give away the ending, but this one stopped in a better, and more reasonable spot than the last one, so, yes, this was a better story.
Paul Boehmer always puts in a solid performance when reading and this is no exception. Like last time, I was somewhat unsettled by the way he pronounced some of the alien names, but, also like last time, I have to admit that I could be totally wrong about those same pronunciations. You take your shot at alien names and hope that others agree with the way you imagine them.
So, this was an enjoyable story and it was well-read. I look forward to the next volume.