________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 8. . . .October 22, 2010.


Avim's Oath. (The Okal Rel Saga, Part Six).

Lynda Williams.
Calgary, AB: EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, 2010.
266 pp., pbk., $16.95.
ISBN 978-1-894063-35-7.

Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.

Review by Ronald Hore.

Reviewed from Uncorrected Proof.





"If you leave here to follow Erien and his alien agenda for the empire," she told him sadly, "go as my friend and mekan'st." She withdrew her hand. "But don't come back expecting to be either, because once you've sworn to White Hearth you will be turning your back on your own. You are Demish, Amel. Blue Demish. And we need you."

He caught his breath with a gulp, looking at her as if he had never really seen her before.

"Perry-" he began, stepping forward to draw her into his arms.

"No," she said, wrapping her arms about herself instead. "You had better go, Pureblood Amel of Lilac Hearth on Fountain Court. You don't want to keep your liege waiting on Gelion."

Amel did not argue. He knew when Perry was adamant. He felt the weight of all the years of disappointed hope behind her eyes. They did not touch. Did not embrace as lovers one last time.

It was all he could do to hold back tears until he was safely alone in his ship. There, once the door sealed, he braced his arms on the control panel of the cockpit, lowered his forehead to his leather sleeve, and let himself process his heartbreak in wrenching sobs.

Avim's Oath is another volume in the ambitious saga set in a far future universe. Volume six of a projected 10 volumes, the "Okal Rel Saga" is pure Space Opera, with spaceships that travel faster than light, and arguments that are settled by swordplay. Ingrained rituals, honour and the importance of family connections play a very important part in the lives of the various characters.

     This chapter of the saga follows two main players, two very different brothers, Erien and Amel, as they navigate their roles in the politics of worlds that rely on treachery, revenge, hatred, and superstition. Several of the female characters are as strong, and difficult, as the males in this universe. These women are equally adept at swordplay and in having their own way. Much is made of "gifting children" where families seek suitable noble blood to enhance their families, with or without the benefit of formal marriages.

     Counterpoint to the brothers, and to the more aggressive women, are two of the younger princesses: Princess Samantha O'Pearl, a rustic who flees her backward home world disguised as her brother, and Princess Luthan Dem H'Us of the Silver Demish, who, at 15, is confused about her sexuality and her future role in the empire. To compound the situation, both Erien and Amel have feelings for Princess Luthan. Amel and Luthan find themselves competing for the same honour as heir to the almost mythical Golden Emperor.

     The new reader for the series may find it difficult to pick up on some of the many nuances of the background story, but, if they stick with it, they will find themselves in a tale of adventure and romance. The author has constructed a complicated and detailed universe complete with words and phrases singular to the series. Fans of the stories will have no difficulty following the plot threads. At 266 pages and 21 chapters, this book should appeal to lovers of fantasy as well as readers of science fiction who like their rays guns mixed with swords.


Ronald Hore, involved with writer's groups for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.

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