Friday, February 19, 2016


That Romanian is trying to raid our minds with real human cruelty


Welcome to and into the phenomenal and absolutely perverse and mesmerizing mental world of the deranged universe in some tamed version of which we are living, willy nilly, more nilly than willy, and enjoying every single minute spent in it. Sharpen your attention and concentrate your vision because there is no way for you to get through these pages, these strange territories, these unwelcoming imperial lands if you miss one single sentence because the network of this writing does not authorize one single loop to give way. That’s what makes this novel difficult to the reader: there is no way we can speed up the reading, skip a page, or even a sentence. The language is both absolutely functional (nothing lost on vain and useless descriptions) and so dense you cannot play around with the punctuation or the adverbs. Every single word is meaningful and none is superfluous decoration.

So if you are ready to go into that forest of a corrugated imagination you might be rewarded with some good moments of pleasure if not bliss. I do not intend to tell you the story but to give you some tools to guide you – or rather pull you – through the brambles around the castle and maybe enable you to reach the bed of the Sleeping Beauty who is in fact no princess at all but maybe the true heart of humanity.

The first thing you must understand is that this territory that does not have a map is composed of various contradictory if not antagonistic pieces. You have the Empire itself composed of five territories: the Northlands, the Westlands, the Southlands, the Eastlands and the Streamlands. Each section  is itself complex because they are feudal territories, which means they are more or less controlled by one noble house but they are composed of a network of smaller feudal houses and families all connected by some fealty oath to be pronounced on one’s knees in front of the superior lord. But these oaths do not seem to be based on much honor and have much strength since they are systematically betrayed and broken by practically everyone.

This world is dominated by a few houses or families represented by some banners or emblems. The Northlands are controlled by The Sodomis house in Weiyenor, represented by a ram with fiery hooves. The Westlands are controlled by the Blackways house, the black Knights of Rogfort and are represented  by a warhorse. The Southlands do not seem to be really controlled by anyone because they are various houses all pulling and pushing in different directions, traitors by definition. The Eastlands are controlled but the Verwick House in Findar’s Keep and are represented by a dolphin. The Streamlands are represented by the Mandon house at Rivermark for nearly the whole novel but this family looses this privilege at the end. They are represented by a hawk. Some other families are crucial, especially either by their cruelty or by their treacherous nature. Tobias Findley represented by a dog-headed serpent at Stoneweed is an epitome of violence and barbarity. The House Bellworth is represented by a grey griffin. The House of Reed is represented by a blazing star grass. The House of Wolfgar is represented by a sanguineous sword. The House of Merrick is represented by three stars and a Crescent Moon. Those seem to be the main houses, apart from the Imperial house, the Mero family. If I have made mistakes do not hesitate to tell me and even vindicate my incompetence. You will discover all by yourselves the Tychos family, Lords of Ironmoat.

The novel, or saga, starts some five years or so after the civil war and the death of the tyrant Zygar Ferus Mero. The elder son, Amarius Seronius Mero, was made emperor for a short while but he was accused by his younger brother, Hagyian Rovines Mero, of embezzling, excessive power, etc, and was arrested declared guilty and banished into exile. When the action starts the elder brother is living in Harpool, an outside territory that is built on the existence and trade of slaves. The younger brother is the acting emperor but he has lost contact with his people and is completely out of touch, ready to fall like some over-ripe if not rotten fruit.  We have to add that the civil war was against the tyrant we have mentioned, father of the emperor and his exiled brother, but with what is called the Inquisition on their side. After the victory Amarius Seronius Mero got rid of the Inquisition but kept the two clerical orders, the Patriarchy and the Matriarchy. The last element to know at the beginning is the existence of a distant territory beyond a vast sand desert occupied by some free savages that seem to be living like some Northern American Indians before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. The desert is the territory occupied by some “wyverns” that are enormous worms or snakes living underground in the sand, voracious and attacking anything alive. The allusion to Dune’s sandworms is not even hidden. It is obvious and the savages who are red-skinned and called Aharo are very close to Dune’s Fremen. The term “wyvern” could be understood as teh Celtic wyver but that would be a mistake/. The wyver that might be connected to the root of “viper” is not per se a serpent in Celtic culture. It is represented in many Romanesque art of the 10th-12th centuries under Celtic influence as a man’s head with an invasive moustache pushing long extensions down on both sides and meeting with two flows of water descending out from the mouth. This wyver represents underground water circulation and magnetism on which the Celtic occupation of a territory was founded. This territorial vision was recuperated by and integrated in Christianity in early feudalism in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.

This would already be complex enough if this world were not divided along clear-cut religious lines. The Empire is against slavery and abides by the religion of the Three, the triune religion or faith based on three divine bodies, the Father Sun and the Twin Moon Mothers. This explains the two clerical orders and their basic hostility if not open rivalry. The second religion was that of the Tyrant emperor of the old days: the religion of the Gods of Blood which was based on human and animal sacrifices, probably some cannibalism and definitely some vampirism, drinking the blood of the sacrificed animals or humans. The third religion is that of Harpool that states a social vision implying a small dominant elite governs the world and the vast majority of slaves who (or maybe which) have only one mission, function and end: to obey and do whatever hard tasks they are ordered to perform. It is clear that some of these tasks are prostitution clearly stated for girls bought very young and sold later to the matrons of some shady houses as soon as they have experienced their first bloody blossoming. You may consider some linguistic formulations as hinting at the same fate for boys, but it is more discreet, less obvious. Then you have the people who have no territories and are what is called sellswords, that is to say mercenaries who sell themselves, and their swords, for temporary military service to the various factions of the empire. They believe in one god, the Sky itself, and that life is nothing but suffering, their god being a god of fire that advocates struggle, courage, battle and honor till death comes since death will be the end of suffering. No reincarnation, no rebirth. Just death. You have to consider the religion of the Aharos which is different because it merges together myths, legends, history into some mythological whole that respects the freedom of people, nature, sustainability and has a great knowledge of plants and other natural means to heal and improve life.

Add to this cocktail the intrigue and plotting of the clerical orders in the empire to create some fear of witchcraft, the belief that a few negative hostile spirits, demonic of course, can take possession of people in order to conquer and control the human world. Superstition and rumors are their tools and weapons in a time when there is no real daily mass communication.

So enter this world and enjoy it. But do not skip one line if you really want to follow and take notes if possible. Kindle is good for that. I enjoyed the trip, recognized many influences or models, acknowledged the distortions of these models into some new logic or essence, but this volumes will leave quite a few unfinished and incomplete businesses behind: so be sure you can get into the second volume. Maybe not straight away but soon.

The author is very young. So prepare yourself to see his name over the next few or many years. He sure has plenty of potential monstrous characters and maybe ethical perspectives here and there among the drastic frightening and even sickening chasms he opens under every single one of our steps in this strange land of his. If you survive you might have a good chance of being a happy psychotic PTSS beneficiary.


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