Monday, June 10, 2013

Black Trillium

1990, 1991 Bantam edition
Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May & Andre Norton
Black Trillium
Bought new for $5.99
Very worn paperback

Satisfying fantasy novel, in fact I think it holds up better than Bradley's Mists of Avalon and Firebrand.  Each author wrote the thread of the story for one of the triplet princesses, with Bradley (no surprise) taking scholarly Haramis.  I'm guessing that her name is inspired by Aramis of the Three Musketeers, while sweet blonde Anigel is just "angel" with an extra letter.  (No idea where Kadiya comes from.)  Yes, you can argue that the story is both implausible and formulaic, with the triplets having completely different hair and eye colors, not to mention heights, and of course totally different personalities.  They have their individual quests but must unite to save their land.  You could also quibble that Haramis being melted with one flaming kiss from the evil sorcerer is too bodice-rippery, especially since she's supposed to be the sensible one.

No matter.  The book held my interest throughout, and I especially liked the setting of a swampy kingdom, so different from other fantasy and sci-fi that I've read.  (There's a handy map, as well as an inset with portraits of the princesses.)  I went on to read May's Saga of Pliocene Exile series, which started out well and then got deeply annoying by the third book, so I gave up on it.  I did like the one Andre Norton book I got from the library.  (Both May and Norton are/were female, despite the first names.  Norton died in '05, May is now 81.)  I also read one of the four sequels that the co-authors wrote as individuals later in the '90s, probably May's Blood Trillium (1992), but found it disappointing.  Perhaps, as with the triplets, the writers are stronger together than apart.

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