A man did not need to understand the words to know what was being said. Music, like violence, crossed all languages.
I have been absent for a long time, but I would hope that this post is a worthy reintroduction. Namely, of the books I have read over the last few months the books in the ForeWorld saga are the ones which I would consider best. Best for several reasons, that is, and the last of those would be the quality of the writing. Do not misunderstand me here, the books are written well but individually they are all far weaker than the universe together, a true sum of the parts being more than the parts individually.
So, what is ForeWorld? ForeWorld is an alternative history series of books that spans many years — I have only managed to acquaint myself with the ones that deal with the Medieval Era thus far, and I have not read all of them. I have gone through the five-part main series though, starting with ‘Mongoliad’ that spans three books, and continues in ‘Katabasis’ and ‘Siege Perilous’. I have also read approximately six of the SideQuests which introduce new or existing characters in greater detail.
The message in the books is vague while I am trying to pin it down right now, but reading all of the books gave me an understanding of something. The storyline that continues from the first book to the fifth one is so loosely connected in some ways and yet more binding than anything that could have been created.
The other bit which impresses me so very much is the fact that the story, while not unrealistic in the sense of success/failure, feels as if it is highly unlikely. And there it starts to differ from so many other highly unlikely quests that we have read about (say Frodo to Mt Doom) for in ForeWorld death is common and people know the value of their lives. Some battles are worth it while others are not.
The main protagonists are knights of a military order, Of the Virgin Defender, which is created as a mythical and mystical home for the magical warriors and is generally referred to as the Shield Brethern. The members are all different, a master strategist, a healer, warriors, longbowman, and so forth. The Order began apparently in the Greek times when it was created as a way to embrace and worship Athena in fighting under her name and banner, and then later converted to the Christian ways — ensuring that not all of the members care that much about the Church.
The antagonists are far more varied in character and ability. Some of them are ephemeral (drinking) while others are far more defined (Knights of the Livonian Sword Brethern). Likewise, it is very difficult to give a good overview of them without going into much detail but suffice to say they are thorough in their attempts to do what is good for themselves (as everyone generally does).
What is the main quest, you may be wondering at this point… These knights of the Shield Brethern are such grandiose warriors that in 1240, when Hordes of Mongols threatened to swamp Europe under their hooves, they formed a party with the explicit reason of riding into the far East and finding the Mongol Khan of Khans. And killing him.
Seems slightly insane, doesn’t it?
And, yet, why it feels strange is probably because of the scope of thought involved. What can man not do? Why is this not the way forward?
“How strange it is that we who claim to rule the earth so rarely chance to touch it.”
Maybe what I like most is the fact that a lot of the characters have their own weird sense of humour which sometimes comes up with profound sayings whilst most of the time it is not as sophisticated. The story and the characters feel real, and that is the best that can be said about anything.
Each of our lives have no meaning, except that which we give them by our deeds, and by how our comrades remember us.