Sald Harl would like nothing more than to soar on the wings of his noble eagle, but his youthful rides in the sky are cut short by an appointment to guard the prince. Sald watches his dreams of flight fade with his name and independence as he takes over his bodyguard duties. During a perilous journey to the edges of the kingdom a dark secret comes to life. Now the great Prince Shadow is accused of treason, and Sald must orchestrate a desperate plan of escape or he will lose the one thing he has been ordered to defend. His only option of freedom is a dangerous flight that no one has ever survived. Once again Sald hopes to feel the freedom of soaring though the air unshackled from servitude.
©1987 Dave Duncan (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
A trilogy. Say it in three. Done.
Good narration, but the story is sad. I liked Duncan's Seventh Sword series better, as well as his Magic Casement. Those books are occasionally more humorous and heartwarming.
This is not a feel-good fantasy. No loyal fellowship of the true. Shadow himself is honorable, but there's no one else to admire, except the eagles. Some scenes are lovely, especially between Shadow and his eagle, Nail Biter, but I felt mostly depressed by this storyline and by the disgusting characters. Thus I won't revisit this book, even though the author writes very well. But I might read a sequel, if one is written, and if it went in a more uplifting direction.
The story is told in 3rd person perspective (yay!) and set on an unnamed planet, where intelligent eagles are the natives and once-spacefaring humans have regressed to a medieval life with kings, castles, peasants. They've enslaved the eagles, forcing them to fly humans around. But the eagles are far more intelligent than most of the skymen realize...
From an academic perspective, I enjoyed learning details about eagles. I think the author knows about birds. I was intrigued by the idea of a planet that doesn't rotate, so one side always faces the sun, with the "terminator" the dividing line between daylight and night.
Some terminology wasn't included in the glossary at the end. Here's my own guesswork: A kiloday is how long it takes this planet to revolve around its sun, 1000 days, the equivalent of almost 3 Earth years. I guess a heckaday is 100 days.
I read and loved this when it came out in the late 80s. It captured my imagination then and this audio version is fantastic.
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