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The Burning Land
by Victoria Strauss

Category: Fiction / Fantasy
496 pages; ISBN: 0380978911

Rating: 10/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner

Review

The Burning Land
Victoria Strauss
Eos, Feb 2004, $24.95, 496 pp.
ISBN 0380978911

When the heretics threw out the rightful King and his followers and dismantled the religious worship of Alta, the government in exile fought to reclaim what was theirs. State and church working together defeated the heretics and the worship of Alta became mandated. Shapers (sorcerers) take vows of celibacy and use a drug that weakens their powers.

The Dreamers of Arsace, those people who can visit other places in their dreams, sense a disturbance in the Burning Lands. The church believes apostate shapers are using unfettered magic and mount an expedition to find out who is causing the disturbances. Gyalo, a very religious shaper, leads the expedition. After much hardship the troupe crosses the desert to find the cave city of Refuge, a place where Arsacian exiles fled persecution. Here Gyalo’s adventures begin as he questions his beliefs and believes that the god Alta has awakened from his slumber to usher in a new age. Back home he would be declared heretic.

There are so few fantasies that convincingly seem like they are on real earth, but world builder phenomenal Victoria Strauss does it so effortlessly, fans will think that Arsace is a magical France after the revolution failed. Gyalo is the key character, who firmly believed in magical tethering until Refuge makes him challenge all he once believed. Knowing he will be condemned and in love with the daughter of the ruler of Refuge , he still tries to do what is right as a new age dawns. Fans of Sterling Lanier will enjoy trekking with Gyalo as he journeys the fantastic realm of THE BURNING LAND.

Harriet Klausner

 

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