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Acacia, Book One: The War with the Meinby David Anthony Durham
Acacia is a promising fantasy debut by an established historical novelist. It combines the moral ambiguity and brutality of George R. R. Martin with elements of Guy Gavriel Kay and Ursula K. Le Guin.
Synopses & Reviews
Leodan Akaran, ruler of the Known World, has inherited generations of apparent peace and prosperity, won ages ago by his ancestors. A widower of high intelligence, he presides over an empire called Acacia, after the idyllic island from which he rules. He dotes on his four children and hides from them the dark realities of traffic in drugs and human lives on which their prosperity depends. He hopes that he might change this, but powerful forces stand in his way. And then a deadly assassin sent from a race called the Mein, exiled long ago to an ice-locked stronghold in the frozen north, strikes at Leodan in the heart of Acacia while they unleash surprise attacks across the empire. On his deathbed, Leodan puts into play a plan to allow his children to escape, each to their separate destiny. And so his children begin a quest to avenge their father's death and restore the Acacian empire — this time on the basis of universal freedom.
Acacia is a thrilling work of literary imagination that creates an all-enveloping and mythic world that will carry readers away. It is a timeless tale of heroism and betrayal, of treachery and revenge, of primal wrongs and ultimate redemption. David Durham has reimagined the epic narrative for our time in a book that will surely mark his breakthrough to a wide audience.
"In this sprawling and vividly imagined fantasy, historical novelist Durham (Pride of Carthage) chronicles the downfall and reinvention of the Akaran Dynasty, whose empire, called Acacia, was built on conquest, slaving and drug trade. The Acacian empire, encompassing 'The Known World,' is hated by its subjugated peoples, especially the Mein, who 22 generations earlier were exiled to the icy northland. Having sent an assassin to kill the Acacian king, Leodan, the rebel chieftain, Hanish Mein, declares war on the empire. As Acacia falls, Leodan's treasonous but conflicted chancellor, Thaddeus Clegg, spirits the king's four children to safety. When the Mein's rule proves even more tyrannical than the old, the former chancellor seeks to reunite the now adult Akaran heirs — the oldest son Aliver (once heir to the throne), the beautiful elder daughter Corinn, their younger sister, Mena, and youngest brother, Dariel — to lead a war to regain the empire. Durham has created a richly detailed alternate reality leavened with a dollop of magic and populated by complicated personalities grappling with issues of freedom and oppression." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] big, fat, rich piece of history-flavored fantasy...imagined with remarkable thoroughness. One never knows whether a new fantasy series is worth investing the time it takes to acquaint oneself with a new world and its sprawling cast of characters, but Acacia shows every sign of repaying the investment." Time Magazine
"[A] series opener that combines the moral ambiguity and brutality of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire with Guy Gavriel Kay's emotional sweep and Ursula K. Le Guin's ethnic diversity....Recommended." Library Journal
"From the first pages of Acacia, Durham, a respected historical novelist, demonstrates that he is a master of the fantasy epic....Durham sacrifices nothing...as he drives the plot of this gripping book forward." The Washington Post Book World
"David Anthony Durham has created a fantastic world presented in exquisite fashion." Bookreporter.com
"First installments of a trilogy are inevitably inconclusive to an irritating degree, and Durham's writing is more serviceable than sparkling. But there are enough ably woven plot threads and social cross-currents here to stimulate readers' interest and anticipation for the sequels." USA Today
"David Anthony Durham...envisions a fascinating, fully developed world in Acacia....Packed with suspense, intrigue, and adventure, most readers will devour this first Acacia installment and impatiently await the next." Bookmarks Magazine
"Acacia" offers a thrilling work of literary imagination that creates an all-enveloping and mythic world. Durham has written a timeless tale of heroism and betrayal, of treachery and revenge, of primal wrongs and ultimate redemption.
About the Author
David Anthony Durham earned an MFA from the University of Maryland and is the author of the novels Gabriel's Story, Walk Through Darkness, and Pride of Carthage. He has received the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Fiction Award, a First Novel Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and a Legacy Award. His short fiction also appears in Gumbo: An Anthology of African American Writing. Durham currently lives with his wife and children in Massachusetts.
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