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2009 Aurealis Awards for Fantasy and Science Fiction
Shortlisted – Best Fantasy Novel
The Cloudmaster and his stormlords command wealth and power. But can they save themselves from a rogue rainlord?
Terelle is on the run when an old man with the ability to paint pictures on water employs her as his apprentice—and paints her portrait. She thinks she is safe, until she discovers his floating artworks can fix an immutable future for those portrayed in them. She has become a prisoner of her own painted future.
The Cloudmaster and his stormlords keep the land alive with their power over water and rain. However, the current Cloudmaster is dying and has no stormlord heir because all the promising young men and women have died in troubling circumstances.
An expedition mounted to scour the countryside for a potential stormlord locates a young village lad called Shale. Kidnapped and imprisoned, Shale finds himself a tool in a struggle between the warring factions of the land—because whoever commands a stormlord, commands the water of a nation…
For all that it’s all about water and the control of water in an arid land, The Last Stormlord is no thinly veiled homage to Dune. It’s a unique and multi-layered story that melds plot, politics, and some pretty intense action into a seamless whole. And, as a person who grew up in eastern California and knows well the history of the (vicious and brutal) fight for control of water there, I loved every page of this story.
Water, and control of water is power indeed.
I spent almost a week inside the first volume of Glenda Larke’s new Stormlord series and I really feel like I’ve visited an arid and frightening and wholly convincing land. and I’ve loved very minute of it.
This is a splendid set up. A large cast is assembled: lords and ladies, peasants, painters, warriors and orphans. We move so easily from one to the next and—unlike in so many unwieldy fantasy novels—we.re never in any doubt who we.re with and why. We always know what’s at stake for the characters and there are—even in 600 pages—no long, dull stretches of exposition. This book keeps moving and tumbling from one fantastic set-piece to another
I love all the textures and close-up details of this… the vividness of all that red dust, and the deliciousness of the prized drinking water… the evil chittering and buzzing of the deadly insects…
It’s rare that a fantasy novel sets itself up in a world so obviously influenced by the idea of climate change. Usually such issues are left for science fiction. Yet in her latest blockbuster, Larke sets herself firmly in territory that few fantasy novels have dared to tread. Rather than traipsing through a ‘medieval’ past, she reveals a bold, original world that could possibly be our future, albeit one without technology.
The common link in Larke’s novels is her ability to craft worlds that are vibrant and vivid, immersing us in a world that has depth and substance in a way that few writers can match without bogging down in ‘info dump’. This story is no different and I think is her best work to date. That she can also tell a sweeping saga that runs the gauntlet of human experience, immersing us—quite disturbingly at times—in that white water rapid of joy and despair, unmistakeably marks her as one of Australia’s best speculative fiction writers and one you should not miss.
I am in awe of the sheer virtuosity with which Larke has created her world. Water, or rather the scarcity of water, is the basis of government, economy, social hierarchy and even religion…
… What a tale! Can’t wait for the next instalment. This is a GREAT book. I was so sad when I finished it; luckily it’s going to be a trilogy.
With this book, set in an entirely new world, Larke has once again done what we have come to expect from her: created a fantasy setting embedded with issues and concerns that are very much part of our world…
Larke always manages to mix the best fantasy elements with something a little different. There’s plenty of intrigue and treachery and the two young protagonists caught up in the nicely convoluted story have just the right mix of innocence and savvy. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was not having the next one ready to go when I finished it.
… [Glenda Larke] always comes up with something so breathtakingly different from anything we’ve seen that we can only feast our imaginations in awe and gratitude.
In The Last Stormlord, Larke has once again given us a richly imagined world, peopled with well-defined, fascinating characters. Imagine a world where rain fell on command and the waters were guided to where they were needed most…
This is, I think, the best work Larke has essayed to date. It is cleverer and more subtle than her first seven books… The result is the start of a trilogy that looks set to drive its lessons home without alienating, embarrassing or boring the reader who is just looking for a good yarn. There is something here for everyone who loves a good story and is interested in human nature with all its contradictions and ambitions, both admirable and misplaced.
The Last Stormlord is definitely Aurealis material, but whether or not it tops the prize list it will be a winner in the hearts and minds of readers. It is sure to add to Glenda Larke’s already large body of fans.
It’s been a long time since I read a fantasy novel in which everything about the world felt original and so utterly fascinating that even 640 pages didn’t seem enough.…
Although the book isn’t set in Australia, Glenda Larke is Australian, and I felt a kinship with her way of describing the land. The red dust, the blazing sun, the looming drought, and the tightening of water restrictions—these are all part of the Australian climate. I love the idea that water is so scarce its distribution can create huge political turmoil. …
The uniqueness of the world that Larke creates is more than enough reason to read The Last Stormlord. Coupled with excellent writing and a compelling plot, this book has been a wonderful introduction to a new-to-me author.
As one should expect from Larke’s writing the narrative is lush with details. The layers of society are pretty simple to understand, but the world itself is more complex. From the religion (there is the Sunlord and the Raingiver—both practical given the world and concerns) to the social hierarchy (the more water sensitive you are, the better off you will be) Larke weaves an intricate net of survival. …
I am, of course, impatient to read the next volume. With the North American release not until March 2010 (cry with me) and the subsequent volumes not being released until March and September 2010 in Australia, it feels like a loooong wait.
ISBN: 9781841498119 (1841498114)
Published: Little, Brown Book Group, 4 March 2010
ISBN: 9780316075909 (0316075906)
Published: Orbit (Hachette Book Group), 1 March 2010