J. McAuley: Ancients of Days
(The Second Book of Confluence)
Science Fiction (Paperback), ISBN 0380975165
Paul J. McAuley's Ancients of Days follows dutifully from Child of the River. Series hero Yamanamana and friends continue their long search for Yama's people and heritage. Along the way Yama continues to fry and mash bad guys whilst unconsciously developing his powers of control over the machines used by the Preservers to create Confluence and its peoples.
Also following Child of the River's example, the action and plot appear very formula driven. Yama, captured (again) by who (or what) pursues him, somehow learns more of his ability, escapes (again), and of course, continues to be pursued (endlessly) by all and sundry who wish to abuse his powers for their own ends. All of this while accompanied and served, by his two friends the genetically modified Cat and Mouse, Tamora and Pandaras.
Ancients of Days follows the basic commercial fantasy guidelines -- an easy read with interesting turns and many action sequences. This reader though, will not buy any further novels in the sequence. The low rating of the novel results from the way the author ended both the first and second books in the series with cliffhangers. This hoary device may work well for a television series or even a weekly or biweekly periodical, but it only creates frustration when the wait between episodes drags on for more than a year.
Still, if you don't mind your novels ending in a state of incompleteness, then you may enjoy reading further tales of Confluence and it's enigmatic history. As for me, I'd rather read a story with an end.
Click here for the Crescent Blues review of Child of the River.
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