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The Tamuli (1999)

av David Eddings

Andra författare: Se under Andra författare.

Serier: Spjuthök (4-6), Sagan om Tamuli (omnibus 1-3)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
493447,186 (3.74)4
The fantasy masterwork complete in one volume - 1456 magnificent pages: DOMES OF FIRE THE SHINING ONES THE HIDDEN CITY

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Visar 4 av 4
Re-reading a dear old friend. ( )
  4hounds | Dec 14, 2014 |
This is a review, once again, of books I have reread enough times that I can recite long stretches of dialog. I'll be referring back to my review of the preceeding trilogy - the Tamuli is, I think, more successful overall, but I still have rather a lot to say about it. Reviews by book and then I'll talk about the framing device:

Domes of Fire:

The first half of the book is essentially a road trip. It's fine, it moves reasonably quickly and there are some nice touches - the Manor of Horrible People is well-crafted, and the Secret Government is entertaining throughout. The battles are a little too easy and obvious to be particularly gripping, but the conflict at Sarsos - where the knights, who were held up throughout the previous trilogy as the righteous defenders of the persecuted, mystic Styrics, encounter the ultra-civilized heart of Styricum and confront their own self-righteousness and sense of racial superiority - is blunt but welcome in a genre that doesn't spend a lot of time questioning white Christian-analogue heroes.

The second half is both more interesting and more problematic. We arrive at Matherion, the title city, which is theoretically the heart of a Chinese-style bureaucratic empire, but other than skin tone and org structure everyone is pretty much the same and there aren't really any culture clashes. (Except for one, which I'll get to in a minute.) The plot picks up speed, the stealthy battle preparations are entertaining, and the climax is fairly satisfying. The Emperor is an entertaining character, and the villains are suitably villainous.

My only objection - and it's one of those objections-in-hindsight, because I am now aware of sexual politics in a way I definitely wasn't when I was a teenager - is the Free-Love Empress Seduces Innocent Knight sequence. This isn't actually as appalling as it could be - she's portrayed as a perfectly good woman from a culture that doesn't place a lot of importance on sex, not an Evil Slut or anything, and late in the third book we actually get some of her viewpoint and she's kind of great. But the scenes where the older, more experienced knights tell the young hot one to just give it up because she needs to be kept happy, regardless of his personal desires or ethics, are... appalling. This is the best example of the Eddings's otherwise-liberal politics totally falling down when it comes to certain kinds of gender stereotyping - of course the young man should bang the hot topless woman, he's a man, he'll enjoy it no matter how he's protesting now. It's a relatively minor subplot, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

The Shining Ones:

Ah, the middle book. Always a challenge. It's got some high notes - the Troll God bargaining sequence is great (how do you persuade bestial, elemental gods to essentially let their worshipers go extinct?) the Maid Saves the Day bit is fantastic (shy, timid maid uses her professional knowledge to solve a political problem) and the whole bit with Atana Maris nicely encapsulates the successful portrayal of women as competent at whatever they choose to do, including kicking ass (absolutely, unquestionably competent warrior woman does her job and yet is still a normal person with relationships and a personality and everything - later on, Eddings uses her specifically to lampshade stereotypical thinking about women as warriors.) But while it's very satisfying to learn the True History of Everything, there's a good chunk of the middle of the book where everyone is literally sitting in a room listening to stories. There are also many, many scenes where everyone is standing around talking about what needs to happen next, what's happened offscreen, etc. It kind of kills the pacing.

The Hidden City:

In contrast to the middle book, the third book is kind of a mess because everyone is scattered all over creation and we get viewpoints from just about every character we've ever met (and at least one that has had maybe a couple dozen lines in the preceding five volumes.) No objections about the pacing, though - plenty of stuff happens, and it happens regularly. One of the very successful portrayals of the series is of the secretly obsessive ex-boyfriend type, who eventually turns murderous - it's really quite chilling, reading it as an adult. The concept of gods is also moderately interesting, and fully explored in this volume - they are superhuman, but not perfect; intelligent, but not omniscient; powerful, but limited, and with personalities that shape their powers. The Bhelliom is explained as basically the next level up, although Eddings uses a variety of barely-coherent excuses to limit its power circumstantially so that it doesn't destroy the plot (this really doesn't hold up for me, and is probably the biggest flaw throughout the series, although at least this trilogy fixes the inconsistent-powers problem from the previous series.)

The climax works just fine, although it probably works better if you haven't read the Belgariad, because it's a straight-up retread. World-destroying powers agree to let their (im)mortal avatars decide the outcome, one represents conservatism and stagnation, the other represents progress and humanism, the good guy wins. They're even represented by the same colors. The good guys go home after spreading peace, love, and western upwardly-mobile social structures, the Arab- and Roman-analogue people are soundly defeated, and almost everyone is getting married. Except Ulath, who may be engaged to a Troll dude.

General notes:

The framing device, through the prologues, is actually a contemporary narrative. The first book has a fairly dry academic piece that sums up the previous series and introduces the new region and plot. The second book has a response to that piece, bringing the summary current but also arguing for the other perspective, that we know at that point to be the "bad guy" side. The third is a scene rather than a text, and brings in characters we recognize, in a time period that is clearly after the good guys win, and basically serves as a teaser. It's an interesting way to do it.

I have to remark on the racial angle, because it is another thing I just can't quite fail to see these days. The good guys are white, western and northern European Catholics (there are straight-up English, French, German and Norse analogues.) The mystical magical people are Jews (ghettoized, learned, don't eat pork, don't follow the majority religion, have a glorious home city far away.) As they travel east, they encounter Eastern Europeans (socially backwards, follow a variant of the "right" religion,) nomadic horse-people, and then the Asians (dark haired, golden-skinned, in a heavily bureaucratic empire - essentially good people but godless and set in their (obviously inefficient) ways.) Then there are the bad guys - desert peoples, jungle peoples, both of whom are darker-skinned, hopelessly corrupt and degenerate, and traffic in slaves. The "real" bad guys are lost-out-of-time ancient Romans, whose ideals of racial purity are mostly what make them so horrible. So it's kind of a horrible mishmash of good intentions and unquestioned stereotypes, driven mostly by the sort of Eurocentric thoughtless worldbuilding that gives fantasy a bad name.

There are good parts, even looking back on it now - the women are all fully-realized, powerful, and varied, even though Eddings makes regular remarks about how "women are like this and men are like that" - those assumptions are almost always limited to relationship issues, not larger societal roles. The problems of racial prejudice are attacked head-on, not subtly but honestly. And there is a very heartening sequence where the devout moralistic one is chided for being horrified at the existence of gay people - who are portrayed with a sympathy that was unusual in 1992. (Not that they all don't die, of course.) This is a problematic series at worst - I would happily recommend it to fans of pulp fantasy, and, unlike some other childhood favorites I could mention, I am not at all ashamed to have it on my shelves. ( )
  JeremyPreacher | Mar 30, 2013 |
Sparhawk is called upon Tamuli to help save the kingdom from creatures of fantasy. what he didn't know is, he was drawn there for several purposes. Zalasta wants Sparhawk for Behlliom. The god Cyrgon wants Behlliom to free the Cyrgain and Behlliom wants Sparhawk to free the blue rose.

It's action, witty comments and all out war.
I love every minute of it. the characters are funny. Each quirk gives them personality.

David Eddings presents another adventure for Pandion Knight Sir Sparhawk and his friends.

I love every minute of it. I think what captivated me were the characters. Sparhawk and his friends are quite a mixture of mixed nuts. Most of them have quick tempers and smart mouths. Each comment is witty but funny.

Everyone gets their adventure of a lifetime. All who fought in the battle has their lives changed. Even the trolls.

http://mermaidarium.blogspot.com/2007/10/tamuli.html ( )
  maita | Oct 21, 2007 |
More adventures of Sparhawk and co, now the forth repetition of the same plot lines. Fortunetly this is written in such light prose that the story zips along at a fast rate. ( )
  reading_fox | Jan 22, 2007 |
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Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
David Eddingsprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Taylor, GeoffOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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The fantasy masterwork complete in one volume - 1456 magnificent pages: DOMES OF FIRE THE SHINING ONES THE HIDDEN CITY

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