American Cover Art by Thomas Kidd; and now, a Russian edition!
"...Whoopee! Imagine an Erroll Flynn classic ebulliently re-imagined by Monty Python director Terry Gilliam: that's this
wacky romp whose pace never flags and which launches a second series from Baker." Booklist
"...Fantasy as distinctive as you'd expect from the author of the superb time travel series about the ubiquitous Company."
And now, a fantasy. The cast:
The CHILDREN OF THE SUN are an energetic, mechanically-minded race, offspring (so their legends say) of a blacksmith-god and a fire-goddess, long ages ago.
Sanguine, optimistic, quarrelsome, artistic, inventive yet a bit careless with their technology. They live in stone cities. Long ago some immense catastrophe nearly
wiped them out, a fact they cheerfully ignore as their slag heaps grow ever higher, as their cities grow ever more crowded.
The YENDRI are a forest-dwelling people, refugees from ancient slavery in another land, led to freedom by a Holy Child. They have long since settled into a pastoral
life of meditation and other spiritual pursuits, which would be perfectly idyllic but for two things: they can’t abide the Children of the Sun, whom they see as vulgar and destructive,
and their Holy Child grew up and married someone they despise even more bitterly than the Children of the Sun.
DEMONS. No, we’re not talking about Eeeevil and the hosts of Hell. These demons are elementals, insubstantial unless given bodies, with a ratio of Good to Evil
about the same as any other race. Some of them are quite intelligent; some of them are abysmally stupid. All are powerful and dangerous if crossed. Many of them
have gone into service in exchange for corporeal forms, and they serve a shadowy figure known as the Master of the Mountain… who happens to be the husband
of the Green Saint, formerly the Holy Child of the Yendri.
A Child of the Sun going by the alias of Smith, for reasons best known to himself, has a hidden destiny. It requires that he change addresses a lot. He’s not getting any
younger, though, and, times being what they are, he accepts a job as a caravan master…
The Master of the Mountain and the Green Saint have had children. A lot of children. In fact, they have released a rather large brood of semidivine semidemonic highly-conflicted
offspring on the world. Certain extremist elements amongst the Yendri are really, really angry about this, regarding the children’s very existence as Sacrilege…
The Children of the Sun have reached critical mass, and their fate is about to be shaped on the anvil of the world. Will they perish or survive? The past rises like a
ghost, old scandals are raked up, long-buried secrets are brought to light—and Smith discovers he is not the only one with something to hide…
The author would be remiss in not thanking the shades of Thorne Smith, Fritz Leiber, L. Sprague De Camp and Noel Coward for their inspiration; but primarily this
world owes its existence to stories made up in preliterate childhood, when the author peered at Maxfield Parrish’s fantasy illustrations and tried to imagine what they represented.
So the biggest bouquet goes to you, Mr. Parrish…
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