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The Last Stormlord
      Stormlord Rising
      Stormlord's Exile
Glenda Larke
      Glenda Larke
      Glenda Larke
Orbit, 675 pages
      Orbit, 674 pages
      Orbit, 709 pages

The Last Stormlord
Stormlord Rising
Stormlord's Exile
Glenda Larke
Glenda Larke was born in Western Australia, the daughter of a farmer. She was educated at government state schools and the University of Western Australia, where she obtained a degree in history and a diploma in education. Married to a Malaysian scientist, she has grown-up children, and now lives in Malaysia, where she is actively involved in rainforest conservation.

Glenda Larke Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Dominic Cilli

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I wouldn't blame you if you've never heard of Glenda Larke. I hadn't before I began reading these novels, but I wish someone would have told me about her sooner. She hasn't received a whole lot of renown outside her native Australia where she has been nominated for five Aurealis awards in the last eight years. This alone should be enough for international readers to infer that she is one of the best fantasy authors Australia has to offer. But, if that isn't enough to pique your curiosity, let me assure you the The Stormlord Trilogy is more than just good Australian fantasy. It's "A" list fantasy for readers everywhere and a wonderfully crafted piece of fiction.

The Stormlord Trilogy uses a harsh desert setting to maximum effect. The Quartern is a unique and well developed world where water is the most valuable asset and life is difficult. People ride around on giant centipedes and the most feared weapon is the trained zigger; a nasty little flying beetle that likes to bore itself in through the victim's eye. Natural rain has largely become a thing of the past and the people of the Quartern rely on stormlords to deliver their rain. Stormlords are people who can manipulate water in a number of ways, just one of which is the power to form and move clouds. The problem is, for a number of reasons, there is only one Stormlord left alive and the future of the Quartern and its people are at risk unless a replacement can be found quickly. In The Last Stormlord, Larke introduces us to Shale Flint. Shale was born in the Gibber Quarter, the poorest part of the country and one that is not known for producing stormlords. Hence, Shale has been overlooked for too long and his training may not be enough for him to harness his water talent, but he may just be the Quartern's last hope.

Terelle is a professional courtesan, working in a snuggery. She escapes her life there and takes up residence with a crazy old artist named Russet. Terelle learns there is far more to this strange old man and his artwork then meets the eye. The man turns out to be her grandfather and the paintings are the key to the most powerful form of water magic known to the world and it appears the talent has been passed down.

In tone and quality, Glenda Larke's Stormlord Trilogy is the closet thing I have read to Robin Hobb's The Farseer Trilogy in a long time. The setting, characters, world-building, theology and plot are all done with exceeding care and all come off without a hitch. The magic system also deserves to be mentioned. It's all based on water, not all that original, but Larke uses it in some very imaginative ways with a clearly defined set of rules.

The plot lends itself nicely to heavy doses of political and social treachery, so along with the two affable protagonists; Larke gives us a host of colorful villains to hate. Furthermore, for those of you who like to delve deeper into your literature The Stormlord Trilogy is more than just a great narrative. Throughout the series Larke gives us insight into a number of current topical issues. Christianity, racism and social caste systems are all addressed deftly and unobtrusively within the text.

Generally speaking, there is much to enjoy and admire in this series. The final book of the series, Stormlord's Exile, was strong enough to make my list of best fantasy reads of 2012. I think one would be hard-pressed to find much fault with anything in this series and I think a good litmus test for prospective readers is my earlier comparison to Robin Hobb. As of yet, I have not read any of Glenda Larke's previous work (a situation I intend to remedy very soon) or I could make a more sweeping comparison of the two authors, but based on the strength of The Stormlord Trilogy the analogy seems appropriate so if you're looking for an entertaining fantasy series, I would highly recommend checking out The Stormlord Trilogy.

Copyright © 2012 Dominic Cilli

When asked to write a third-person tag line for his reviews, Dominic Cilli farmed the work out to an actual 3rd person, his friend Neal, who in turn turned it over to a second person who then asked his third cousin to help out and this person whom Dom doesn't even know then wrote in 8th person Omniscient mode "Dom's breadth of knowledge in literature runs the gamut and is certainly not bounded by the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre. One thing I can say with certainty is that of all the people I don't know who've ever recommended books to read, Dom's recommendations are the best.


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