A gripping fantasy adventure from the author of the Deverry series, set far in the future on the strangely beautiful but inhospitable planet Snare.
The Kazraks arrived eight hundred years ago from the Homelands, determined to found a pure society and live simple lives based on the teachings of the three prophets. But the despotic rule of the Great Khan leads a small band to take drastic action. Following information from Yarl Soutan, a mysterious sorcerer from the far away Cantons, Captain Idres Warkannan and his nephew Arkazo set off to find the Great Khan’s younger brother, Jezro, and bring him back to stage a coup. But first they must cross the purple grassy plains inhabited both by the peace-loving comnees, and by the terrifying ChaMeech, intelligent beasts who regularly raid their borders.
Meanwhile Zayn Hassan, a loyal member of the Chosen, the Great Khan’s deadly secret service, is well on his way to successfully infiltrating a comnee in order to cross the plains and the Great Rift safely. His mission is to follow Yarl Soutan and find out what he’s doing leading the devoutly religious Kazraks to the decadent Cantons. But he hasn’t bargained for the simple pleasure of life on the plains, or the attractions of Ammadin, the comnee’s fiercly independent spirit rider.
As both parties journey across the plains they come to realize that there is more at stake than their individual quests. Centuries-old falsehoods are gradually revealed as all the factions begin to see that their histories and identities are not what they thought they were.
Combining the dazzling invention of her SF with the gripping adventure of her bestselling Deverry series, Katharine Kerr has created a truly unique and thrilling literary fusion.
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Katharine Kerr's SF novel Snare is an enjoyable, intelligent adventure set on a long-colonised planet whose history, ecology and communities are full of puzzling contradictions. Tantalising answers emerge but lead to greater mysteries. One society is Islamic, not the Islam we know but a splinter cult changed by the teachings of the Second and Third Prophets, softened by 800 years of adaptation to this world. Believers are sympathetically treated but their ruler the Great Khan is wrecking the economy with greed and bloodthirsty paranoia.
So regime change is indicated--there are secret plans to lure a forgotten Khan heir out of exile. This means long travel over grasslands dominated by horse-riding tribes whose female shamans practise magic--a magic which, underpinned by ancient technology and bioengineering, really works. One tribe is infiltrated by a member of the Khan's dread secret police the Chosen, who have strange, shameful talents of their own. Hazards en route include the ChaMeech, feared lizard-folk who are this world's original natives, with ecological and political crises of their own. Above circle light-points in the sky known as the Riders--certain forms of magical location and communication function only after the Riders have risen and before they set. One fanatical "sorcerer" wants to get back up there again, into orbit.
Who is the voice in the shaman's crystal, calling herself Water Woman? How is it that the sorcerer is remembered by some as greyly middle-aged, seen by others as young? What's the significance of countless tribal taboos or Banes, such as the rule against disturbing the glistening "spirit pearls" found in rivers? Are the splendid legends of the human First Settlers all lies, invented for excellent reasons which may no longer apply?
Kerr's characters are believable and likeable--they clash, change and grow as layers of mystery are peeled away. All ends satisfyingly. --David LangfordReview:
‘A fantastic plot which turns a simple story into something far more original ... a cracking read ... engrossing’ SFX
‘Kerr traces complex emotional and intellectual relationships as they evolve amid the dangers and vivid wonders of a world you won’t soon forget’ Locus
‘An enjoyable, intelligent adventure’ David Langford, Amazon
‘Kerr does a marvellous job ... a compelling standalone fantasy’ Dreamwatch
‘Kerr is a worldbuilder of the greatest ability and imagination’ The Alien Online
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