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Hades' Daughter
Sara Douglass
Tor Books, 592 pages

Hades' Daughter
Sara Douglass
Sara Douglass is the pseudonym of Sara Warneke. Sara worked as a nurse for several years and completed three degrees, culminating in a PhD in early modern European history. She now teaches both medieval and early-modern history at La Trobe University in Bendigo, Australia. Her fantasy adventures, The Axis Trilogy and The Wayfarer Redemption, are the best-selling fantasy series ever in Australia, and Book 3 of the first trilogy, StarMan, won the 1996 Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel.

The Worlds of Sara Douglass
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Hades' Daughter
SF Site Review: Starman
SF Site Review: Starman
SF Site Review: The Nameless Day
SF Site Review: The Wayfarer Redemption
HarperCollins Voyager: Sara Douglass

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

When gods, demi-gods, and witches play with humans' lives, inevitably the result is pain and sorrow for the lesser creatures involved. As one of the unfortunate pawns in a game that spills over millennia, pity Cornelia, a young and headstrong princess who has the supreme misfortune of being caught between Brutus, the kingman who would rebuild Troy, and Genvissa, ruthless descendant of Ariadne, who will possess the power Brutus holds. The drama that plays out will leave legions of blameless victims dead and worse as they try to step in to end the madness.

Sara Douglass has achieved the seemingly impossible. Hades' Daughter is a 600 page-colossus of a novel that reads like a summer pot-boiler. Do you have any idea what biceps you develop when you can't put down a book that big? As good as the Wayfarer series was, The Troy Game surpasses it on every level. Douglass' fans and those who are just now being introduced to her work are going to be equally enthralled by these books.

The relationships between these characters carry the same irresistible allure as Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, Romeo and Juliet; but for their pride and misperceptions it seems that Brutus and Cornelia could be happy together. (The fact that Cornelia is willing to forgive the almost nightly rape is something that would have to be considered in the context of her world.) Of course, there is always Genvissa to make sure that that understanding never comes to fruition, but these two hardly need help to make themselves and those around them miserable. The plots and counter-attacks and near-misses consuming these vivid make for an absolutely rivetting tale.

Douglass' creation of a world where power and magic are slowly fading from existence is a perfect stage for this battle between dark magic and benign forces. And telling the good from the evil is often a matter of relativity. Few are the blameless in this prolonged game to wrest control of mankind. Even as the reader feels pity for Cornelia, she commits yet another unforgivable error. Brutus' few moments of compassion are more fleeting than the lives of these characters against the scale of centuries that will ensue.

The fact that the most contemporary setting of Hades' Daughter begins to play out in the dark, building malevolence of 1939 promises even more world-shaking confrontations. As the main players arrive for what they know will be their final battle, the air of weariness marks each of them, even in their latest forms. Truly, the story can be considered a well-crafted tragedy to rival any previous dramas.

And to think, it all started with a Minotaur in a maze. Who would ever think horror could come from such an auspicious beginning?

Copyright © 2003 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews, articles, and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction, horror, dark realism, and humour. DARKERS, her first novel, was published in August 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She is a contributing editor at SF Site and for BLACK GATE magazine. Lisa has also written for BOOKPAGE, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, Science Fiction Weekly, and SCIENCE FICTION CHRONICLE. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

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