Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Fantastic Fantasy Finds: Crystal and Steel by Lyndan Darby


Crystal and Steel (1988)
Bloodseed (1989)
Phoenix Fire (1990)

These books were published in the UK. The trilogy begins as a quest fantasy, with a prince trying to take back his throne. There are dark lords and mystical objects aplenty, but it's the characters I loved. Eider, the prince, is naive and idealistic. His friend, the young wizard Nairb, is vulnerable, but powerful. Regor the elf is a trickster. Lehon is a young man hoping for adventure. There's only one memorable female character, and she turns out to be something completely different.



The fantasy has a Tolkienish plot, but the mood is decidedly Mervyn Peakeish. There's a warm friendship between the questing companions. The villain Zarrat the usurper is a typical tyrant, but the other villains are wonderfully drawn; the repulsive gnome monarch, the slithering Black Queen, the Baobhanshee, and Ruthra, the seducer masked in beauty.


Eider attains his throne, and, in the sequels, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Eider's friends must try to save Eider's soul in stories of surrealistic grandeur.







This series is for anyone nostalgic for Moorcock or Lord Dunsany's picturesque fantasies, weird and lavish, with a company of friends at its core.

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