Monday, September 25, 2017

34. Thongor in the City of Magicians

More Thongor!  I am reading these because I found a pretty nice set of old British paperbacks at Chainon.  Unfortunately, it didn't include the one before this one (Thongor against the Gods, I believe), so I missed another most certainly epic chapter in Thongor's domination of all things vile in Lemuria.  Lin Carter is very conscious of this possibly happening as much of the start of Thongor in the City of Magicians is a recap of all of Thongor's previous adventures, as well as listing out all the secondary characters and the political situation.  The problem is there is a ton of secondary characters and their names all sound the same and they are all exemplaries of their brand of heroism and manliness.  Likewise with the various cities.  It's very hard to distinguish between them all.  This is real nerdery here.  Probably had I read these when I was into this stuff, I would have written it all out, drawn maps and so on.  In my late 40s, it becomes a real slog.

When you finally get through all that, the story does get quite fun.  This time, we learn about the source of all the nasty druids and alchemists who had been taking over the good cities.  It's the city of Zaar, far to the south of Lemuria, run by nine evil wizards and surrounded by black marble walls (that also hold back the crashing waves of the Pacific).  Thongor and his people head in that direction to mine some precious stones filled with sun energy and of course he gets captured.  Lots of ass-kicking ensues and great descriptions of corrupt magic and its practitioners.

This book really emphasizes that Lemuria is from earth's past and will sink into the ocean.  It even suggests that the continent has been weakened by all the meddling with dark magics, a bit of a climate change metaphor from back in the day.

Finishing this, I also realized that maybe Carter adds all the nerdery to pad the book out, because it's barely a novel as is and would almost be more of a short story.

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