Mistress of the Pearl (The Pearl, Book 3)
by Eric Van Lustbader
ISBN 0312872372 (0-312-87237-2)
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Hardcover, Tor Books, 2004
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Book summary: Kundala is Miina's world, created by that Goddess with the help of the dragons. But Miina is missing, and her people have been enslaved by the alien V'ornn. Now a savior has come, the Dar Sala-at, a messiah promised by prophecy yet unlike anyone's expectations: within the body of a beautiful young woman is the mind and spirit of a unique Kundalan female who is joined in mystical partnership with the mind and spirit of Annon Ashera, a V'ornn male, the last survivor of a noble family. Together the two adolescents have matured and merged into a new joint identity. Now their common destiny, and Kundala's, is in their own hands.
In Lustbader's richly imagined saga The Pearl, magic and science clash on an epic scale. As in the Midkemia novels of Raymond Feist, the juxtaposition shows that neither is inherently good or evil. It is the people using magic or science who give them meaning, and Lustbader has created people you will never forget:
Riane, the Dar-Sala-at; Eleana, the woman she loves twice over; Kurgan, the V'ornn usurper who raped Eleana and sired her child; Marethyn Stogggul, Kurgan's defiant sister, an artist who joins the Kundalan resistance; Marethyn's lover, chief trader Sornnn SaTrryn, who secretly helps the resistance as well; and the fabulous Krystren, the Sarakkon woman from the mysterious southern continent, who comes north on a secret mission and will change the lives of everyone she meets. All the while, the evil Sauromicians threaten the world as they seek to use banestones to bind a dragon.
With each new volume, The Pearl has bloomed and ramified like a gorgeous flowering vine. The Mistress of the Pearl is the best yet, and those who have read the previous books will find new sources of excitement and enlightenment, but this is also a great place to begin catching up with the series, as the Pearl shines ever brighter.
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