by Eric Diehl
eagerly picked up this book based on the title and concept.
Water rights may very well be the cause of conflicts and
outright war over the next century, and I wanted to see how the
author treated this subject. I was sorry to find out, though,
that this book had pretty much nothing to do with water. The
raiding of atmospheric water by lunar colonies was merely a
cause to get the plot going.
The novel focuses on the House Alar, a first-among-equals in the
great planetary houses of the Alliance. House Alar has been
leading the planet for at least 3,000 years, and, depending on
how the text is interpreted, perhaps as much as 100,000 years.
Never before defeated, the House falls to a lunar colony which
uses advanced technology and the magic of a guild of sorcerers.
The rest of the Alliance takes various actions to include
joining the invaders, fighting, and withdrawing to do nothing.
The Head of the House Alar, Gar, is taken prisoner where the
Maester Viizar, Gezladorn, uses sorcerous powers to subvert his
brain. Gar's son, Cairn, travels the planet to try and form some
sort of resistance to the lunar rule.
This novel will fit in nicely with the expectations of the sword
and sorcery crowd, even if the sorcery, while vital, is not
prevalent in all aspects of the tale.
Personally, I have a problem with books which mix scifi and
sword and sorcery fantasy. I can't grasp why people who fight
with interplanetary fighter craft, molecular cannons, force
fields, and such also carry swords, throwing stars, staves, and
crossbows. In one situation, Cairn laments the fact that in
order to save weight on his fightercraft, he did not bring a
sidearm, yet he brought a rather large broadsword.
And one pet peeve of mine, although certainly this is not
limited to this novel, is that there seems to be an inordinate
amount of time in which noble houses rule and things remain
static in this type of book. Even if you take the 3,000 year
time-frame given in the book, that is a long, long time for any
political entity to remain on top. And when you consider the
100,000 year description, well, that is longer than the history
of modern man on Earth, so shouldn't things change more in this
amount of time?
I am also not too sure why Cairn's discovery of the humanoid
subterranean people was put in the novel. First, these people
have been living underground beneath the men for 100,000 years,
but they were unknown until Cairn just happens to stumble on
them in a cave? Second, these Scottish-sounding troll-like
people, so strong and with abilities surpassing those of the
above-ground men, really don't do much in the climax other than
to transport Cairn back to his home.
I did rather like Cairn, whom I thought was believable and
well-fleshed. His dialogue rang true as well, both "real" and
logical. His father, though, spoke in over-dramatic terms common
in the sword and sorcery books of 50 years ago.
A minor point is in the author's use of punctuation. While there
were some minor mistakes, especially with quotation marks, his
fascination with the dash was bothersome. Not only was it
usually used incorrectly, a hyphen was used instead of a dash. I
understand that this is a Kindle version of the book, so the
typing was done on a normal keyboard, but when an actual dash is
not available, two hyphens are used to make a dash. Luckily, as
the book got into the second half, his use of the dash was
significantly reduced. Punctuation should be invisible, helping
the reader to understand the written word. When is stands out in
and of itself, well, then it breaks the flow of the tale.
I would have loved to see this book as a straight scifi,
focussing on water rights and conflicts arising from them. But
that is more personal opinion than anything else. This novel
should find a ready market from those who enjoy the scifi/sword
and sorcery hybrids.
more reviews or to buy Water Harvest from
Amazon.com, click here.