David Anthony Durham received the 2009 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer of Science Fiction for Acacia and The Other Lands (the first two volumes of the Acacia Trilogy). Author of the historical novels Gabriel's Story, Walk Through Darkness, and Pride of Carthage, he was handpicked by George R. R. Martin to write for his Wild Cards series of collaborative novels. www.davidanthonydurham.com
Leodan Akaran wants only to be a devoted father and political reformer, but his Acacian empire is based on forced labor, drugged pacification, and a dark deal that trades children into slavery. His chance for reform ends abruptly when the Meins, a fierce people subjugated by the Acacians, revolt through assassination, warfare, and biological terror. The four Akaran children scatter to their respective hiding places--and destinies--around the empire. Historical fiction writer Durham (Pride of Carthage) successfully turns to epic fantasy in a series opener that combines the moral ambiguity and brutality of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire with Guy Gavriel Kay's emotional sweep and Ursula K. Le Guin's ethnic diversity. There are a few false notes as the book moves to its climax (e.g., monstrous beasts stopped through mass battlefield nudity!), but readers will be excited to learn whether the children retake and reform Acacia or are sacrificed to bring the Meinish ancestors back to bloody life. Recommended for all libraries that collect fantasy fiction. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/07.]--Neil Hollands, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
In this sprawling and vividly imagined fantasy, historical novelist Durham (Pride of Carthage) chronicles the downfall and reinvention of the Akaran Dynasty, whose empire, called Acacia, was built on conquest, slaving and drug trade. The Acacian empire, encompassing "The Known World," is hated by its subjugated peoples, especially the Mein, who 22 generations earlier were exiled to the icy northland. Having sent an assassin to kill the Acacian king, Leodan, the rebel chieftain, Hanish Mein, declares war on the empire. As Acacia falls, Leodan's treasonous but conflicted chancellor, Thaddeus Clegg, spirits the king's four children to safety. When the Mein's rule proves even more tyrannical than the old, the former chancellor seeks to reunite the now adult Akaran heirs--the oldest son Aliver (once heir to the throne), the beautiful elder daughter Corinn, their younger sister, Mena, and youngest brother, Dariel--to lead a war to regain the empire. Durham has created a richly detailed alternate reality leavened with a dollop of magic and populated by complicated personalities grappling with issues of freedom and oppression. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Praise for David Anthony Durham and The Acacia Trilogy: "A
--USA Today "A big, fat, rich piece of history-flavored fantasy. . . . Imagined with remarkable thoroughness."
--Time "Gripping. . . . From the first pages of Acacia, Durham demonstrates that he is a master of the fantasy epic."
--The Washington Post Book World "Thrilling. . . . Durham's new world--like our old one--is crawling with wickedly fascinating characters."
--Entertainment Weekly "Transcendent. . . . As fantasy epics go, the 'Acacia' trilogy is a direct and worthy descendant of Tolkien." --Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star "A truly epic fantasy . . . Superbly written."
--Fantasy Magazine "Something genuinely new. . . . Strong echoes of Homer and Virgil, Tolkien, Norse mythology's Twilight of the Gods and America's compromised history as a republic built on slavery fuse into an enthralling, literate and increasingly suspenseful narrative."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred) "Never lets up. . . . A very tasty fantasy stew."
--San Jose Mercury News "Extraordinary. . . . One of the best books, fantasy or otherwise . . . in recent memory."