Monday, April 02, 2007

Starred Review in Publishers Weekly!

The kind, kind people at Publishers Weekly have just made my day. The review of Acacia: The War with the Mein appears in this week's edition. It's a good one, and they've given the book a star, which means they think it's a title of particular note or interest. I do have a history with PW. They've given stars to all my books, making this one the fourth. I wasn't at all sure they were going to do it again. I'm quite excited about this. Yes, I've gotten stars from them before and it hasn't made me a household name or anything, but this book is different, I think, and this early endorsement may go a bit further than in the past.

Here's what they said...

In this sprawling and vividly imagined fantasy, historical novelist Durham (Pride of Carthage) chronicles the downfall and reinvention of the Akaran Dynasty, whose empire, called Acacia, was built on conquest, slaving and drug trade. The Acacian empire, encompassing "The Known World," is hated by its subjugated peoples, especially the Mein, who 22 generations earlier were exiled to the icy northland. Having sent an assassin to kill the Acacian king, Leodan, the rebel chieftain, Hanish Mein, declares war on the empire. As Acacia falls, Leodan's treasonous but conflicted chancellor, Thaddeus Clegg, spirits the king's four children to safety. When the Mein's rule proves even more tyrannical than the old, the former chancellor seeks to reunite the now adult Akaran heirs—the oldest son Aliver (once heir to the throne), the beautiful elder daughter Corinn, their younger sister, Mena, and youngest brother, Dariel—to lead a war to regain the empire. Durham has created a richly detailed alternate reality leavened with a dollop of magic and populated by complicated personalities grappling with issues of freedom and oppression.

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Blogger Scott Oden said...

Awesome review! Congrats, again, David! When I received the ARC for Acacia it included a letter from you explaining the oft-asked question: "why fantasy?"; I imagine all of these great reviews have well and truly set your mind at ease about whether or not you were doing the 'right thing' (me, I think the 'right thing' is whatever the writer feels passionate about, no matter where it takes them, but often our publishers disagree).

You know, something I'd love to read (if you have the time to do a blog-essay about it) is how the Known World came to be. What sorts of research did your world-building entail? How did the research differ from Pride of Carthage? What came first, the map or the story? It's a fascinating world and I'd love to know more about its genesis.

I'm hoping some day to see The Encyclopedia of Acacia and The Guide to the Known World, ala Tolkien :)

10:57 AM  
Blogger Gabriele Campbell said...

That's getting better and better. congrats.

And I agree with Scott, a post about the Way to Acacia or something would be interesting.

12:40 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Thanks for asking about this. I'll give it some thought and post something about it soon.

5:49 PM  

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