Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Star Shard

by Frederic S. Durbin

Ah, what can I say about The Star Shard? Shall I tell about Cymbril, the enslaved chanteuse? Or perhaps the exotic sidhe child, Loric? The wise and mighty Urrmsh? The loquacious Byrni? The dark Eye Women? No, I guess if I'm going to hold forth on The Star Shard I must begin with the Thunder Rake. Ah, the Rake. The setting for this tale of captivity. Think of a traditional marketplace, with all its sights, sounds and colors. Pack it all up on a large ship, put the ship on wheels, supply the ship with massive forked oars that bite into the soil and drag the ship along. That's the Thunder Rake. Way cool, if you ask me. Of course, there was a voice in the back of my mind that pointed out that the Rake was probably quite impractical from a technological and economic standpoint. But the rest of my mind told him to shush, because we were enjoying the story. Oh, yeah, the story. Like I mentioned above, you have this orphaned slave girl, Cymbril. She's the property of the Rake's owner, Rombol, and her main job is to sing for the crowds whenever the Rake crawls into town and sets up their market. It's not a horrid existence, but slavery can make any life bitter. Cymbril's a curious child, given to explore the Rake and its mysteries when she can. But those wonders all fade to the mystery of Rombol's latest purchase, Loric. Rombol buys the boy for his innate ability to see in the dark, so he can act as a guide for the Rake on it's nightly journeys. At first, Cymbril plots to get a chance to talk to Loric, but once she does that, the two start to plan an even more risky enterprise...

The Star Shard was quite enjoyable to read, not only in its original incarnation in Cricket magazine, but also as this expanded novel. I did feel slightly let down--the world Mr. Durbin has created really calls out for more stories, perhaps a sequel or two. So go out and my multiple copies so that the publisher will start nagging Mr. Durbin to write some more.

It's on my shelf
LibraryThing link

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