Stock Code: 2434
Format: Softcover Novel
Pages: 312 pages
Cover Price: $4.95 U.S.
Print Runs: First (July 1994)
Series: DARK SUN WORLD Chronicles of Athas
Preceded by: N/A
Followed by: The Darkness Before the Dawn
Author: Lynn Abbey
Cover Art: Brom
To Carolyn and Jane for a safe haven when I really needed it and Beverly for making Persian carpets.
It was the 102nd day of the Descending Sun in the seasonless year on the Tablelands of the world men called Athas. Ral and Guthay, the sibling moons, had already slipped below the horizon. Through the clear, dry air, the midnight sky was as black as the Dragon’s heart. The parched Tablelands were lit by the pinpoint brilliance of a thousand unchanging stars. The brutal heat of day yielded to the bone-numbing cold of night, as it had every other day in both living memory and enduring legend. Days, years, and mortal lives churned relentlessly from birth to death. The cycles were endless, and invariable.
From back cover:
Templar on the Run
Pavek of Urik, templar of Hamanu and lower-level bureaucrat, has grown accustomed to the benefits of his station. Neither aggressive nor rebellious, he accepts his position, follows orders, and doesn’t usually ask questions.
Then one day he uncovers a far-reaching conspiracy that permeates all of Urik, even the ranks of his templar superiors, and now he is on the run.
Forced to flee the comforts of his station, Pavek must take to the desert in search of a new way of life and a new system of beliefs, or meet death in the blood-soaked alleys of Urik at the hands of those he used to trust.
Words of Lynn Abbey on The Brazen Gambit, from her site:
One day, several years after Bob Asprin and I had put Thieves’ World® into “freeze dry mode,” I got a call from an editor at TSR — then the publishers of Dungeons and Dragons®. It seemed they’d put together a new gaming milieu and were looking for authors to write stories set in it. I was reluctant at first, then the editor asked if I didn’t have a few unpublished/unwritten TW stories rattling around in my creative compost heap, because the DarkSun® milieu was the grittiest, down-and-dirtiest world TSR yet..
Well, I didn’t then; I really hadn’t looked back after we stopped doing TW. But by the next morning I had mental images of a man trying to study magic in a raucous bar and so I called the editor back and asked him to send me the background material.
At about the same time, I was reading Mikhail Gorbachev’s autobiography and thinking about the challenges to a fundamentally decent man trapped in an utterly corrupt society. For Gorbachev, that society was the Soviet Union, but it wasn’t long before I was extrapolating from the Soviet Union to the DarkSun® milieu and my barroom scholar, Just-Plain Pavek.
After that, everything flowed together with remarkable ease. There is a lot of similarity between TW’s Sanctuary setting and the DarkSun® city of Urik, where I set my story (because it had been described in the existing DarkSun® novels, but no one had claimed it as a private “sand box”). The magic’s different and I had to wrap my imagination around elves, dwarves, and a bunch of specialized milieu beasties, but, all-in-all, I easily made myself to home.
I also began working with Hamanu — ostensibly the villain of the piece, but character who clearly fell into the moral category a friend once defined as “groovy evil.” From the moment he strode into the prose, Hamanu threatened to take over the story…but more about him in CINNABAR SHADOWS and RISE AND FALL OF A DRAGON KING.