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The Chronicles of Scar
Ron Sarti
Avon EOS Books

Volume 1 The Chronicles of Scar
Volume 2 Legacy of the Ancients
Volume 3 The Lanterns of God

The Chronicles of Scar
Legacy of the Ancients
The Lanterns of God
Ron Sarti
Ron Sarti wrote his Ph.D. thesis was about the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. He is a professor of English and a school administrator in Spring Valley, Ohio. The Chronicles of Scar are his first books.

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Past Feature Reviews
A review by Regina Lynn Preciado

Years ago, I bought the first novel in this trilogy because I'd met author Ron Sarti online. I don't even remember how I met him, just that I promised to read the book. Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that I didn't like it -- post-apocalyptic fiction ranks just above cyberpunk on my list of least favorite sub-genres. I finished reading it because I "knew" the author, not because I was deeply into it.

That said, I'm happy to report that the second and third novels in this series are better than the first, something that doesn't seem to happen as often anymore. Seems like these days authors get edited less with each successive book, so that their recent work isn't as polished as their earlier books. Ah, love those budget cuts.

Because of the quality of the second and third books, I recommend picking up the entire series. Not everyone feels the same as I did about the first installment, either -- you might just love it as much as I loved the last one.

The Chronicles series traces the evolution of young Prince Arn, less formally known as Scar, from a frightened beggar to a cowardly prince to unwilling hero and finally to a mature leader and man. In a ravaged world where electricity and other technologies are forbidden and "dinosaurs" roam the swamps, Scar and his companions must try to piece the fabric of society back together, sometimes in surprising ways. War, politics, love, and hatred mature him and make our journey alongside him well worthwhile.

I formed an intense dislike of Scar when reading the first novel, called simply The Chronicles of Scar. He does not have an emotional presence -- his thoughts and actions come across, but not his feelings. Sarti seems to be trying to show that Scar is closed off from his emotions, but instead it feels more like the boy has no emotions other than a strong bent toward self-preservation. I couldn't figure out what his companions saw in him, or why they liked him so much.

Scar is also a coward. I understand that Sarti was trying to do something different, to create a main character who is neither hero nor anti-hero. I suppose Scar is most appropriately called a reluctant hero, but it's that very reluctance that interfered with my enjoyment of the first book. Like the emotional coldness, it's too strong, too obvious.

However, the other characters are mostly well-drawn, complex and individual. From Wizard Murdock to Captain John Black to Scar's brother Prince Robert, they resonate on both an intellectual and an emotional level. It is their bravery and actions that make Scar the war hero he turns out to be, despite his every attempt to avoid it.

In the next book, Legacy of the Ancients, Scar becomes much more palatable. Sarti's prose smooths out, and he is able to weave the loose ends from the first book into a complex and suspenseful pattern. Scar may still be reluctant, but at least he's doing his duty without (much) complaint. And this time we do see his emotional side: it's subtle, but it's there. I began to realize what the other characters saw in him and why they continued to like him despite his selfishness. When Scar begins to care for people other than himself, and when seen through the eyes of the woman who loves him, his good qualities surface.

Legacy is a quest novel of sorts. After the devastating war of the first book, Scar and his companions must embark on a dangerous journey to an enemy land -- at the behest of certain factions of that enemy. Sarti breathes new life into the oft-used ploy of having his characters proceed in the disguise of a travelling show. The situations that arise do not seem at all forced, and the companions reveal much about themselves in the way they play their characters (pardon the pun).

And when Legacy came to an end, it left me breathless and in an emotional state of my own. Not bad for a main character who started out so distant.

By the third installment, The Lanterns of God, Prince Arn has matured enough to be wholly sympathetic, and Sarti's writing has matured enough to show Arn's faults without making him annoying. I was so absorbed in Lanterns that I read it in one sitting.

Like Scar himself, nothing is what it seems. The battles and quests of the first two books are nothing compared to what our heroes discover now. Is a conspiracy afoot? Are the rules against developing pre-apocalyptic technologies really for the good of the people? Who makes that decision, anyway? Sarti's knowledge of military history serves him well in this concluding novel, without getting in the way of the story.

Overall, I agree with the jacket blurbs that The Chronicles of Scar is a welcome addition to our favorite genre -- to Science Fiction and Fantasy, not just to post-apocalyptic fiction. I look forward to Sarti's next books, whether continuing this series or starting another.

Copyright © 1998 by Regina Lynn Preciado

Regina Lynn Preciado writes and edits for a living. Her short-lived film career began with a role as an extra in The Empire Strikes Back: Special Edition and ended with another in The Return of the Jedi: Special Edition. She wants to be an astronaut when she grows up. Or maybe a train engineer. Want to know more?

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