May 12, 2011

George R.R. Martin - Dying of the Light

The rogue planet Worlorn, at its best, hosted the glittering Festival of Worlds () but now is just a dying planet inevitably moving away from the Wheel of Fire to sink into an endless night.

There travels Dirk t'Larien hoping to regain the love of Gwen Delvano and to atone for past mistakes, but instead he finds Gwen joined by jade-and-silver to Jann Vikary and his teyn Gars Janacek, in an incomprehensible link of love and hate, so terrible and yet so great as the inevitable end of Worlorn.

Worlorn hosts in its empty cities a small number of inhabitants, including the noble high-Kavala Jaantony Riv High Ironjade Jadehierro Vikary of Ironjade clan, his teyn Gars Janacek and his betheyni Gwen Delvano.

Gwen asks the help of Dirk t'Larien, a former lover who she left in Avalon, and he goes to it carrying in his hand the whispering jewel that he once gave her as a symbol of a bond meant to last forever, and with the embers of past love still burning in his heart.

But Ironjade is not the only High-Kavalaan clan remaining in Worlorn as its archaic and barbaric civilization has its greatest exponent in Braith clan and the practice of their favorite sport: hunting quasi-men in the desolate landscape of the planet.

The title is apparently drawn from Dylan Thomas' poem about death, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night which contains the lines :
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The strength of this novel is in the construction of its characters, so real, and the creation of a set of bonds and social rules of love and family as an extended concept that one can easily believe, feasible and consistent. The story turns around a loser, the typical intellectual with a life full of small failures with which a large percentage of readers can easily identify. But instead of using him as a focus of the narrative, t'Larien becomes a reflective viewer who must accept certain truths about the world and his own mistakes.

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