Synopses & Reviews
A millennia-old prophecy was given when the Forbidden Ones were driven from Achar. And now, the Acharites witness its manifestation: Achar is under attack by an evil lord from the North, Gorgreal-his ice demons strike from the sky and kill hundreds of brave warriors in the blink of an eye.
All Acharites believe the end is near.
One young woman, Faraday, betrothed of Duke Borneheld, learns that all she has been told about her people's history is untrue. While fleeing to safety from the dangerous land, Faraday, rides with Axis, legendary leader of the Axe-Wielders-and hated half-brother of Borneheld-and a man Faraday secretly loves although it would be death to admit it. She embarks on a journey, which will change her life forever, in search of the true nature of her people.
This grand and heroic story tells the tale of one woman's plight to learn the truth of her people and change their hearts and their minds forever. She fights against oppressive forces to share this reality and will not desist until everyone knows. . . . . The truth of the Star Gate
The first book in Douglass's bestselling fantasy series of the same name is now available at a special introductory price to coincide with the release of the new hardcover in the series, "Crusader," in August 2006. Reissue.
For a thousand years the Acharites have lived prosperous lives, protected by vast and insurmountable mountains and the powerful Seneschal, guardians of the mysterious Way of the Plow and intermediaries with the great god Artor.
But now Achar's security is threatened as a millennia-old prophecy predicting the return of the Forbidden Ones flares into life. An unnatural winter grips the land as the Ice Lord Gorgrael moves his armies of demonic wraiths and Ice Worms south. Achar crumbles under Gorgrael's murderous onslaught: it seems that no one can stop him.
Faraday, betrothed of Achar's War Lord, Duke Borneheld, is as frightened as everyone else. While fleeing to safety with Axis, legendary leader of the Axe-Wielders and hated half-brother of Borneheld, Faraday learns that all she has been taught about her people's history has been based on lies. Leaving the company of Axis -- a man she secretly loves, although it would mean his death to reveal it -- Faraday embarks on a journey that will forever change both her life and those of her people.
The Wayfarer Redemption is the beginning of an epic fantasy about honor, family, and love: of Faraday's fight for one man's love, and their struggles to free the people from the lies that have bound them...and lead them into the truth of the Star Gate.
About the Author
was born in Penola, a small farming settlement in the south of Australia, in 1957. She spent her early years chasing (and being chased by) sheep and collecting snakes before her parents transported her to the city of Adelaideand the more genteel surroundings of Methodist Ladies College. Having graduated, Sara then became a nurse on her parents' urging (it was both feminine and genteel) and spent seventeen years planning and then effecting her escape.
That escape came in the form of a Ph.D. in early modern English history. Sara and nursing finally parted company after a lengthy time of bare tolerance, and she took up a position as senior lecturer in medieval European history at the Bendigo campus of the Victorian University of La Trobe. Finding the departmental politics of academic life as intolerable as the emotional rigours of nursing, Sara needed to find another escape.
This took the form of one of Sara's childhood loves - books and writing. Spending some years practising writing novels, HarperCollins Australia picked up one of Sara's novels, BattleAxe (published in North America as The Wayfarer Redemption), the first in the Tencendor series, and chose it as the lead book in their new fantasy line with immediate success. Since 1995 Sara has become Australia's leading fantasy author and one of its top novelists. Her books are now sold around the world.
Reading Group Guide
Questions for Discussion
1. Discuss the three main races of Tencendor: the Acharites, the Avar, and the Icarii. What assets does each culture bring to the proposed alliance? What weaknesses? Of which culture would you like most to be a member?
2. Much of the book is about overcoming preconceptions and prejudices. Discuss some of these prejudices, including Axiss shattering realization of his Enchanter nature and Faradays transformation from tree-hater to Tree Friend, and explain how the characters are able—or unable—to overcome them.
3. Is there a contradiction in the Avars blood sacrifices to the Mother? How does this pacifistic culture rationalize these sacrifices? What contradictions are present in the Acharite and Icarii?
4. When Axis spares Raums life at the edge of Avarinheim, it is because of Goldfeathers challenge: “You need do only what your heart tells you is right. Not what the Seneschal has taught you must be done. Your duty should always be to do what you feel is right.” Is this good advice, not only in this particular case, but as a general philosophy of life? What would be the effect of this philosophy for Faraday? For an average Acharite soldier?
5. What is the role of loyalty in the book? Discuss how Axis, Faraday, Timozel, and the Sentinels demonstrate loyalty, and the price each pays for their fealty.
6. Borneheld is a powerful, yet tragic character, eliciting nearly as much sympathy as scorn. Roughly raised without a mother, he is overbearing and crude, yet through much of the book he seems to truly want to be a successful leader and decent husband. What pushes him over the edge? Was his descent avoidable?
7. Death and rebirth figure prominently in the book. Give some examples of this cycle of life, in the religions of the races, their cultural traditions, and elsewhere.
8. While the separation of the races is in abundant evidence throughout the book, both the Destroyer and the Starman are of mixed blood. Do you think this is a conscious decision on the authors part? Why or why not?
9. Discuss the mysterious Sentinels. Each is somehow connected to one of the sacred lakes, possesses extraordinary powers, and knows far more than they let on about the dangers facing Tencendor. None is what they seem. What advantages do these characteristics offer the author in telling the story?
10. Near the end of the book, we are introduced to the Charonites, a shadowy race who is said to have the greatest appreciation for the mysteries of life. They ply the subterranean waterways, which they liken to corridors linking the past and present, connecting the mysteries of worlds and lives that could have been or yet might be. The Charonite Ferryman explains that the paths of the stars are mirrored in the water, and that of the water in the stars, but then refuses to discuss this aspect further, forcing the companions to puzzle this out on their own. What do you think he means by this connection? How does the Charonite understanding of Time differ from that of the other races?
11. Nature is powerfully woven throughout the book, with the author presenting Nature as a collection of sentient, living entities. How do the races of Tencendor differ in their individual views of nature? Which view do you feel is the most like your own? Which is most like the average human perspective?
12. Azhures escape from her stepfathers cruelty was violent, as was her part in helping Raum and Shra flee, and as such put her at odds with the Avars non-violence. Is violence ever justifiable? Was hers?
13. The Seneschal is repeatedly portrayed as an organization of cruel deceivers who spread hatred of those who are different from themselves. How do you think the Seneschal themselves would interpret their role in Acharite life? Is one view more valid than the other? What are the dangers in holding each of these perspectives?