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Heresy (Aquasilva Trilogy S.)
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A world as well-realised as DUNE, from a teenage sensation On the storm-wracked waterworld of Aquasilva, supreme religious power is held by the Domain, dedicated to the element Fire. But this must change. One of the agents of change - albeit unwillingly - is Cathan, son of a count, who travels to inform his father of the discovery on a cache of iron in their territory. But on the way to the clan congress which his father is attending, Cathan stumbles upon a plot to unleash a new age of fundamentalism. As new alliances are made, Cathan and his allies also discover dissidents ('heretics' in the Domain's eyes) and begin to see the truths behind the political and religious beliefs which drive their land - and their world. All across the world, change is being fought and ruthlessly suppressed by the Domain and its holy warriors, the Sacri. A weapon must be forged to fight them, and Cathan discovers at first hand how long and difficult that struggle will be. An outstanding fantasy novel, with echoes of Frank Herbert's Dune sequence, introduces one of the genre's most exciting voices of the new millenium.
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About the Author

Anselm Audley was eighteen in June 2000. Having studied at Millfield School, he is now at St John's College, Oxford, taking a course in Ancient and Modern History. He lives in Dorset.

Reviews

Though merchant houses and noble clans hold political power in the land of Aquasilva, the priests and holy warriors of the Domain exercise a religious monopoly over the beliefs of the people. When Cathan Tauro, a young nobleman, accidentally discovers a conspiracy by the Domain to extend its tyrannical grasp even further, he realizes that his only hope for survival lies in starting a revolution. Nineteen-year-old Audley's first novel launches an epic trilogy set in a world in which magic and religion vie for precedence. The author's skill at portraying young people caught up in world-shaking events should appeal to YA readers as well as general fantasy fans. For most fantasy collections. [From Simon & Schuster U.K., Audley received one of the largest advances ever paid to a new British fantasy author. Ed.] Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Publicists aren't doing Audley a favor by stressing how young he is (19) and comparing him to Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin. Expectant readers will find a competent, appealing but rather standard sword-and-super-science tale. On Aquasilva, a water-planet with physical laws that vary somewhat from Earth's, society is split into rival cities and clans. A fanatical priesthood tries to keep control by murdering all who don't worship its elemental god, but the heretics organize devious counterplots and train young people in "magic" mind powers that use natural elements. The narrator, Cathan, is a young nobleman who just happens to be a phenomenally gifted natural mage, able to manipulate several elements at once. Audley successfully suggests a complex society through a bewildering mass of historical and political details, but he's less adept at showing how the society actually functions. In particular, it's hard to imagine how hand weapons have developed only as far as swords and crossbows while high-tech submarines launch "flame lances" and torpedoes at each other. He's also better, so far, at presenting characters frozen in uncertain pondering than he is at describing direct action. Still, the size and scope of this novel demonstrate Audley's energy and ambition. It will be interesting to see how his characters explore Aquasilva in subsequent books. At the very least, a 20-something's second novel won't be burdened with the extravagant hype of a teenager's first. Agent, James Hale. (Sept. 11) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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