Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sons Of Palodar, Anne Powell (review extension)

Sons Of Palodar
Anne Powell

I've now managed to sit down with Anne and go over my comments and thoughts on her book in detail. This sort of review can be tricky - it is always best to avoid offending one's spouse - but it's also an opportunity for her to hear things from someone she knows will speak honestly. Thus, it's a balancing act where presentation means a lot.

Since that conversation I know I am allowed to say something about the plot of the book itself, without giving things away, of course.

Anne's story takes place in the Romnean empire, which spans thousands of star systems in the galaxy. The person in charge - she who must be obeyed, if you will - is named Katera, a wizardress (or witch, depending on how formal you want to be) of great power.

Space ships of all kinds fly between the systems of the empire, bringing trade and residents to new locations. Of course everything that can go with that environment does so: smuggling and piracy, for example.

There are quite a few races present, including humans, but in addition Katera created three races of beings called the Gladius some 700 years before the story takes place. Katera's whim is a command, and the Gladius are required to fight each other in ritualized combat in arenas throughout the empire for the entertainment of the citizenry.

Sons of Palodar is a love story set in this world. We follow Able Greenleaf, a human pilot for a young Gladius warrior as he meets Mary, a somewhat mysterious woman he falls in love with. There are complications, of course, that cannot be detailed here, and though we're not reading about a major event in the history of the empire, we still feel the presence of that history as the story unfolds. We also feel for the characters in a real way. Able and Mary - and a number of other characters - are well developed and believable. It's a pleasure watching them dance around each other and the complications of their lives.

It's risky to write reviews where one's point of view might obviously be biased - in this case by my relationship with the author - but I honestly hope she releases this novel in some format. Yes, there still are a few things that need to be cleaned up first, but for an early draft it felt very clean, and I gulped it down, having to go back for a second time to pick up on a few issues that need fixing.

If this work ever becomes available I'll let it be known here. And if anyone wants to read an early copy, either contact Anne directly if you know how, or contact me and I'll put you in touch. Suffice it to say I think it would be worth your time.