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Archive for July, 2010

And the story started in The Chosen continues… Carnelian and Obsidian were thrown out of Osrakum and taken for dead in the course of the plots of the Masters. Carnelian’s good nature and naiveté allowed them to be accepted by one of the tribes in Earthsky, among the people that were “leeched” by the Masters to maintain the luxury of Osrakum. While Carnelian was educated far from the plots of Osrakum by a woman from Earthsky, Obsidian had the true nature of a Master and could not accept a life among lower people.

Although The Standing Dead is the continuation of The Chosen, and the events of The Chosen are essential to understand it, the plot and the thematic take a huge turn. In The Chosen the background unfolds in front of Carnelian, who was taking his first steps in the (poisoned) heaven of Osrakum. In The Standing Dead the main characters – Carnelian and Obsidian – were in a critic situation and were forced to develop themselves, which they did according to their own natures. Carnelian, with his simplicity and kind nature, wished to mingle with the tribe’s people, who were more similar to him than the Masters; and Obsidian, intrinsically Master of the Masters, recoiled to himself to show later his ability to manipulate and dominate people.

The comparison of the societies in Osrakum and in Earthsky is fascinating, as it is the way that Osrakum controls the people of Earthsky by their most individual and human egoism. The deep changes operated by Obsidian in Earthsky are also amazingly credible, especially as the human factor in them is perfectly recognizable. We may find examples of similar changes in World History (even if we are not proud of them).

The relationship of Carnelian and Obsidian also suffered a strange development. As both characters evolved in such different ways, and the strain imposed to them would not allow romantic love, their relationship evolved to a strong and weird partnership as if they were a long married couple. Although this relationship became so strange that it merged the impossible, it is so well (and subtly) described that it becomes amazingly credible.

And the plot continues in The Third God

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Lord Suth was one of the most powerful noblemen in Osrakum, but was forced to exile by his enemies. His son Carnelian grew up in exile with a luxurious household, but without ever knowing the excesses of life in court.

One day a delegation arrived from Osrakum bringing the news of the eminent death of the Emperor, and the need of Lord Suth’s return to supervise the election of the new Emperor – every Emperor must have twin sons, one should be elected Emperor after his father’s death, the other should die during the coronation of his brother.

The journey of Carnilean and his father back to the court in Osrakum begins, bringing back all social ways that were neglected in exile and that Carnelian never knew about.

The society in Osrakum is highly stratified, with an aristocracy made of big and beautiful people who live in luxury and have an obsession about blood purity and lineage, which is directly related to social status. The aristocracy is served by slaves, who are smaller and uglier people taken as a tax from tribes that consider the aristocracy as divinity. The slaves are treated as objects that could be used and discarded at will.

Another feature of this society is the use of masks. Aristocrats wear masks that must be taken out as soon as the highest one shows his face. If the difference of rank is too big, it is a crime for the lower ranked aristocrat to look at the face of his superior, and the sentence for this crime is death. A slave that sees the face of a Lord must die immediately.

The Chosen is the first volume of The Stone Dance of the Chameleon, and it mainly consists of the return of Lord Suth and Carnelian to Osrakum. The narration is centered in Carnelian, who is so familiar with that world and that society as the reader. The story itself just begins by the end of the book, when Carnelian meets and falls in love with Obsidian, and the election takes place. Although most of this volume seems like a contextualization, it does not become boring as there is always the feeling of excitement as this fantastic – and sometimes nightmarish – world is created in front of Carnelian (and the reader). It is a kind of big scale social experiment.

The Chosen is followed by The Standing Dead and The Third God.

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