Paperback: 592 pages
Publisher: Orbit (1 Sep 2005)
I think this is the first book I've reviewed that's by someone who has friended me, so jemck, look away now.
The Aldebreshan Compass quartet is set in the same world as McKenna's Tales of Einarinn quintet. However, whereas that series had a relatively orthodox fantasy setting, the Aldebreshan books are set in a society in which magic is utterly taboo, and where all sorts of divination rule the people's lives. It's also an tropical archipelago - these aren't your armour carrying, leather clad mercenaries. No, they're sailors and pearl divers and fishermen. If they need metal, they trade for it.
Yet, though this is a refreshingly different society from that of the Tales, it's part of the same world (another plus point - a world with actual variety!), and those same causes that have troubled the North are also affecting those in the South, though differently, with such menaces as migrating dragons being the problem. But there are also strange, ruthless people invading.
In the midst of this is Kheda. He's the ruler of a domain, but is powerless to help his domain acting as the divinator. Instead, he's got to compromise with users of magic, because only magic looks to have the ability to defeat magic. But with the absolute taboo, he has to do this secretly, and the best way to do that is for him to disappear, even though this may mean abandoning his family and relinquishing his lordship.
When I read the first of this series, I was a little bit disappointed, because I wanted more about those characters I'd come to know in the Tales. But it didn't take long for the differences to become the attraction instead, and now I'm a bit sad this series is finishing after one more book. Meanwhile, the fourth book is now out, and I can't wait to read it.