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Legends Walking
Jane Lindskold
Avon EOS Books, 404 pages

Legends Walking
Jane Lindskold
Jane Lindskold has written a number of novels including The Pipes Of Orpheus, Smoke And Mirrors and When The Gods Are Silent. She collaborated with Roger Zelazny on Donnerjack and lived with him during the final year of his life.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Changer
SF Site Review: Donnerjack with Roger Zelazny

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Pat Caven

It has always bothered me when I pick up a book and find it has a split personality. This is not as uncommon as it might sound. Unfortunately, it had to happen with a sequel to a novel that I consider one of the best of 1998.

Changer, the first novel of the Athanor, was a unique blend of mythic and slightly skewed contemporary fantasy. A race of immortals that have wandered in and out of human history and legend is not a new concept. However, Lindskold gave us a fresh and witty interpretation mingled with poignancy and taut drama. But the devices that had a charming "goofiness" to them in the first novel, take on an almost pathetic quality in the second.

Legends Walking cannot be read on it's own. There is no retelling of the history of the Athanor or who these people might be. This takes up where Changer left off -- give or take a few weeks. In the wake of the Lustrum Review and the chaotic Harmony Dance, Eddie and Anson A. Kridd have taken off for Nigeria to broker a petroleum deal between the struggling country and Japan. On arrival there, they find that someone claiming to be Shopona, the god of Smallpox has begun to release the plague on the local population.

Meanwhile back in the US (here comes the descent into the absurd) King Arthur is struggling to keep the lid on the theriomorphs (viz. fauns and satyrs) who want to 'come out' to the world. How will they do this you might ask? By being extras in Tommy Thunderbolt's (read Dionysus') new rock and roll tour. Blend these two diverse plotlines with chapter upon chapter of Changer's daughter (an immortal shape-shifting coyote) learning to socialize and take care of herself on Frank MacDonald's farm (now read that as Old MacDonald and St. Francis of Assisi rolled into one) and you have so many changes of style and dramatic tension, the reader is looking for a little Librium to wash it all down.

If I sound disappointed, I am. Lindskold is a really fine writer with great ideas. The Nigerian storyline is fascinating (if brutal) all on it's own. To lay such a horrifying tale alongside its ridiculous counterpart only shines a glaring spotlight on the novel's overall weaknesses.

But I will give the novel one solid "ten" on the resolution of all conflicts at the end. Up until this point you have started to wonder just how this race of immortals have ever managed to live this long. With their unique and satisfying resolutions, you have some hope that they actually deserve these very long lives. And hopefully -- only another book like the first.

Copyright © 2000 Pat Caven

Pat Caven was (and perhaps in some ways still is) a local bookseller. She has now wandered into the public domain.

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