The Last Stormlord
Orbit, Marc2010, $7.99
In Scarcleft City in the Scarpen Quarter, her father sells his twelve year old daughter Terelle to Opal's snuggery where she picks up dirty plates and mugs to be reused in the kitchen. Terelle knows that if she fails to escape shortly she will become a courtesan handmaiden just like her older half-sister Vivie who counseled her to accept the inevitable. However, the water painter gives her hope.
At the same time that Terelle considers how to escape, the Stormlord is dying and no one seems capablee of taking over his critical duties. Shale the low life has the gift, but lacks the training and being an outcast means he will never receive the training to control being a Stormord bringing the needed rain to the desert. As he wanders around while the current Stormlord nears death, the son of Granlon the Cloudmaster Nealrith Almondine and Kaneth Carnelian check levels at water cisterns to find each one at dangerous low drought levels. They discuss moral options while Taquar leads the tribes to return to the Time of Random Rain; to achieve his goal he must kill anyone who displays the watergiver talent.
This is a terrific fantasy that uses a dangerous drop in water levels to set up the excellent opening act of what looks like will be a superb relevant thriller. The ensemble cast is incredibly deep so that even secondary characters like Kaneth and the water talented female Ryka that he should marry come across as fully developed enhancing the plausibility of the story line of doom. In fact Kaneth explains the two extreme choices between allowing everyone to die slowly and mass murder to enable a chosen few high up in the water hierarch to live. Fans will enjoy Glenda Larke’s terrific relevant tale as the water wars seem imminent in the Quartern.