It is a nameless city somewhere between past and future, a mythic realm at the "heart of the world," where wicked Rat Lords have reduced all humankind to slaves, and god-daemons make the decision to end all existence. This energizes a compelling quest for survival, and prompts the powerful White Crow to order an uprising against this chaotic strike that threatens them all. Among those who respond to her are the defiant Prince Lucas of Candover, a student at the University of Crime, and no mans's slave; and Zari, the young Katayan woman who is destined to become the living Memory of all that follows. And others rally to join them in one final desperate revolt, hoping to create a magic powerful enough to reshape the very nature of how they live.
Moving away from her earlier depictions of a future society, Gentle ( Golden Witchbreed ) has created a dark, vivid and complex alternative medieval world, a fantasy where highly intelligent rats rule subservient men under the direction of gods incarnate, the Thirty-Six, monumental Decans whose gargoyle acolytes terrorize the populace and maintain the holy rule. Into the menacing city, with its teeming masses and its Thirty-Six temples of the Fane, comes Lucas, prince of Candover, to study at the the University of Crime. He and a classmate, the tailed Katayan Zar-bettu-zekigal, training to be a King's Memory, stumble into a plot to destroy this world and its balance of power. While men stir up revolt against the Rat-Kings, Plessiez, a Rat priest, schemes to sow true death through plague and necromancy to unsettle the Decans and decimate the serfs. Other forces--other gods and an Invisible College--enter the fray. Gentle paints her mystical and occult world in the nightmare images of Hieronymus Bosch, drawing deeply on Rosicrucian and Hermetic lore, while at the same time creating idiosyncratic and believable characters.
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Romantic Revolutionaries Calculate Necromantic Decadence
My mind never gained purchase on this mad, inventive welter of odd names, metaphysical architecture and creeping, gruesome horror, an early example of Hunchbackpunk.