Lord Prestimion by Robert Silverberg
(Harper, $25, 416 pages, hardback, February 1999; published in the UK by HarperCollins Voyager, £6.99, 434 pages, paperback, September 1999.)
Rating: B+. Colorful, beautifully-written but thin planetary romance.
This is Silverberg's sixth Majipoor book, and it's a bit thin. I've read and liked the previous five -- this is Jack Vance "Big Planet" country: big, colorful landscapes, strange flora and fauna, teeming cities, richly-caparisoned nobility, exotic aliens, bits of higher-tech in a metal-poor, basically nineteenth-century civilisation. Good thick light escape-reading, which is just what I was in the mood for. I noticed the Vancian rodomontade more this time, because there's very little plot here, maybe a novella's worth: Prestimion is crowned as Coronal after winning a disastrous civil war (in Sorcerors of Majipoor). He's decided to heal the scars of war by removing (by sorcery, offstage) all memories of the war. Naturally, this has unforeseen consequences, not the least of which is one of the rebel leaders trying to start a new civil war. And he meets a girl and makes her his Queen. Well, that's about it until Prestimion #3.
Mind you, this is by no means a bad book, but, thinking back, I found Sorcerers to be the weakest Majipoor book up until now, so I suspect the well is running dry. Unless you're a diehard Majipoor fan, I'd wait for the paperback or a library copy. And I believe I'll let someone else be the guinea-pig for Prestimion #3.
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© Peter D Tillman 30 October 1999