Sunday, July 26, 2009
Telepaths and Quis
Catharine Asaro's The Ruby Dice continues the history of the Skolian and Eubian space empires. The Eubians are bad guys, slave traders who literally delight in torture, and the Skolians have resorted to harsh tactics to counter them. Meanwhile little Earth sits in the middle and makes coffee. The galactic empires are held together by the psychic powers of the Skolian ruling family, astonishing telepaths who can support an interstellar communication network. The family is torn by the twisting politics of their civilization, which contrasts with their intimate and loving family life.
The book is about power and how the leaders of a group may not really control the forces under their command. Both main characters, Kelric and Jaibriol, have awesome titles -- Jaibriol as Emperor, Kelric as Imperator, Yet despite their mutual hatred of war, they see no way to prevent endless bloodshed between their people.
The space opera setting is grand; unfortunately I don't find Asaro's characters at all realistic. They are clumsily and obviously drawn. But the pace of the story lets me enjoy the books, and I like following the history of the empires. C+.