Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kirkus on The Sacred Band

Well, I might as well get this out of the way.

The self-proclaimed "World's Toughest Critics" (says so on their website) have reviewed my latest effort. My heart and soul. My blood and guts poured out onto the page. They're notorious for tearing unwary authors to bits. They often hit the mark, even against the popular tide. (I'm pretty sure they were the only pre-pub review source to trash Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, though the record of that may have been expunged completely. The critic wiped from all records, though there are rumors he was garroted by an albino priest...) Once before they tore me a new one, and now they've set me firmly in their sights and come at with their blades of fury and righteous literary...

Wait. Actually...

No, that's not what happened. Not this time, at least. They didn't slice and dice Corinn and the gang at all. Instead they pinned a star on us! Don't read the review if you don't want to know what's happened in earlier books.

If that doesn't matter, read on...

Durham (Gabriel’s Story, 2002, etc.) brings his sci-fi Acacia Trilogy to a satisfying close.

Samuel R. Delany meets Cormac McCarthy meets J.R.R. Tolkien as the striking and subtly powerful Corinn Akaran settles into queenship over the Known World just in time to take up arms with the Other Lands. “We’re at war,” she says, matter-of-factly. And war it is, with supposed allies turning tail and threats of invasion putting a decided downward cast on the scene. Corinn is a tough cookie, but she nurtures an abiding hope that her son, Aaden, will prove himself as “the greatest Akaran monarch yet.” Naturally, opportunities abound for him to show his stuff. Meanwhile, Corinn’s brother Aliver is on hand to help, having miraculously come back to life after having been killed in the second installment. (“You were dead before,” says Aaden. “Exactly,” replies Aliver. “I like you better alive,” responds Aaden, having thought the matter over.) Durham is a master of the swords-and-sorcery genre, with the bonus that this is swords-and-sorcery with spaceships that give the Millennium Falcon a run for the money; the trilogy, this volume included, tends to be talky, but it’s the right kind of talky, without wasted words. He also takes time to paint scenes in words that other writers might brush away, as with this description of a book-filled library: “Tall windows cast elongated rectangles of red-gold sunrise light, but the room’s candles still burned, thick ones that jutted through the tables like tree trunks and burned with flames the size of spearheads.” That’s a world worth fighting for, and Durham’s pages are full of thrilling action that would do Tolkien proud.

A close, yes—but with wiggle room for more Acacian adventures. At any rate, on the strength of this installment, Durham’s many fans will be clamoring for more.

That's awful nice. Admittedly, I'm not sure what the Millennium Falcon stuff is about, but still, I'll take it.

Thank you, Kirkus, for the gold star. I will wear it proudly. You chastened me once, and I've never forgotten it. Nor have I forgotten the three - count em, 3! - times you've given me your pointy accolade. I'm very pleased.

For anyone that wants to see my Kirkus score, it's HERE.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! As if I needed more encouragement (not)...

5:27 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


5:44 AM  
Blogger David said...

I was going to read this no matter what, but now I'm realizing you're going to do the impossible. Trump the first two with the Sacred Bands writing quality!

12:16 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Well... I try. I trust you'll let me know if I succeed?

6:32 AM  
Anonymous jdepalma said...

Congrats. I'm looking forward to reading it. What a year for "epic" fantasy. A Wise Man's Fear, A Dance with Dragons and now The Sacred Band. I just finished A Dance With Dragons (which it seems I enjoyed more than many) now I'm looking forward to The Sacred Band. Good luck I hope it's a sucess.

2:08 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Me too. Me too.

4:33 AM  

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