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Sara Douglass

Sara Douglass(1957-2011)
Sara Douglass is the penname of Dr. Sara Warneke, a professor of medieval history. At her website she explains why she she uses a penname (interesting!). Sara Douglass died on September 27, 2011 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. You can leave condolences at the Facebook Official Fan Page.

The Wayfarer Redemption: Distinctly average

The Wayfarer Redemption (BattleAxe in the UK) by Sara Douglass

Note: Amanda, who reviews this novel, lives in the UK where this book is titled BattleAxe. In the US, the title is The Wayfarer Redemption.

A thousand years ago the people of Achar drove the Forbidden from their land in the War of the Axe. They pulled down huge swathes of woodland in their fear and now live by the Way of the Plough under the benign guidance of their deity Artor. But troubling rumours are brewing. Winter has come — and stayed. Icy wraiths are appearing from the mist and killing soldiers at the border stronghold before vanishing. They are believed to be the Forbidden, massing in order to invade Achar and kill the Acharites.

Borneheld, War Leader and heir to the throne of Achar (son of Searlas and Rivkah), is sent to the border with reinforcements to hold ... Read More

Enchanter: It’s beige

Enchanter by Sara Douglass

Enchanter is book two of the Axis Trilogy of The Wayfarer Redemption saga and follows the same path as many middle novels in trilogies: lots of events occur, but the main focus is getting all the main players into place for the big wrap-up in book three. In Enchanter, Axis is trying to bring the Prophecy to fruition — seeking to unite the Acharites with the Avar and the Icarii against opposition from his half-brother Borneheld and, ultimately, Gorgrael. We learn more about the mysterious ninth Talon and finally discover Azhure's heritage.

I've awarded Enchanter three stars because, despite its many faults, I felt compelled to constantly read just one more chapter. Sara Douglass whi... Read More

StarMan: A grand but often tragic campaign

StarMan by Sara Douglass

StarMan is the third in the Axis Trilogy by Sara Douglass. In this book the final battle between Axis and his half brother Gorgrael will take place, the identity of the Lover is revealed, and, finally, WolfStar shows his true colours. StarMan is absolutely packed with events, as the first two books were, and it positively glitters with the force of Douglass' very vivid imagination.

Sara Douglass has managed to churn out a fairly effective fantasy trilogy. The world building is top-notch, and the character development has been vigorous — especially when thinking back to the first book. These characters have definitely come a long way! I was unable to resist finding out what happened to Axis, Azhure, and Faraday, which I guess is most of what can be asked from a novel.
... Read More

The Nameless Day: Major flaws but somehow kept us going

The Nameless Day by Sara Douglass

The Nameless Day is a difficult book to review as there was so much I didn't like about it. To begin with, the main character is extremely unlikeable, which isn't an automatic mark against a book, but when the character stays so consistently unlikeable for such a long time, it does get a bit wearying. We see some slight glimpses of a better man here and there more towards the end, but following Thomas Neville through several hundred pages can seem a bit of a chore. Worse for me were the many inconsistencies within the book of plot and character. Just to give one example, at one point Thomas is berated and mocked by a small group for having traipsed around much of Europe due to some visions from St. Michael. Then only a few pages later, the same group listens as Thomas tells them of demons and his visions and they all believe him wholeheartedly because according to the author, they had b... Read More

The Wounded Hawk: Better than first book

The Wounded Hawk by Sara Douglass

Set amid the drama and cast of the 100 Years War (though more parallel than true history), this sequel to The Nameless Day continues the story of Thomas Neville, former cleric returned to his noble life, as he tries to complete the quest given him by archangel Michael — to retrieve a mysterious casket that will allow him to send back to hell the demons that now roam the world. As readers of the first book know (and only readers of the first one should read this), Thomas himself has become unsure of just which side is the "good" one in the battle between the demons and angels and his uncertainty continues throughout this book, though not quite as pronounced.

Though plagued by some of the same flaws as The Nameless Day (some character inconsistencies, some surprisingly careless writing), The Wounded Hawk manages to easil... Read More

Hades’ Daughter: Good, if you don’t mind jerks as heroes

Hades' Daughter by Sara Douglass

I got annoyed with Hades' Daughter the first time I tried to read it, and didn't finish it. Mostly I was irritated with the three main characters, all of whom are less than sympathetic. Cornelia is childish and weepy and naive — though she does have the excuse of being fifteen, and of constantly having to make major life decisions even though the people around her are manipulating and deceiving her. Brutus doesn't have the excuse of being a teenager — he's a brute and a wife-beater and a rapist and a cad, and it never seems to occur to him that perhaps Cornelia would act out less if he either treated her with respect or let her go. Genvissa is a one-dimensional stock femme fatale. Between the three of them, they manage to all treat each other like dirt and make me want to throw things at them.

Yet I found myself, months later, still drawn to the story. So I read it aga... Read More

Gods’ Concubine: OK, now I’m hooked

Gods' Concubine by Sara Douglass

I bought the previous book in this series, Hades' Daughter, because it was based loosely on Greek and British myth. I shelved it for a long time because I hated the characters. I finally, reluctantly, read it again, because I was still interested in its storyline — and realized that despite the characters, I did like the book.

And then I devoured Gods' Concubine in two days, and can't wait until the third installment, which is supposed to take place during the Restoration period.

Gods' Concubine is better than its predecessor. First of all, the plot is more complex. It's less all-battles-all-the-time and has a lot more plotting and politics in it. And secondly, more importantly, the characters are developing splendidly!

Brutus has been reborn this time as William the Conqueror, and his feis... Read More

Darkwitch Rising: Cornelia rising

Darkwitch Rising by Sara Douglass

The setting is Restoration London. Cornelia, Brutus, Coel, Genvissa, Asterion, and assorted friends and enemies are walking the earth yet again, as is a mysterious new character who has the potential to throw a wrench in all of their best-laid plans.

This is Cornelia's story more than anyone else's, as she matures further. Noah, as she is called in this life, is a far cry from the bratty Cornelia of Hades' Daughter, and even the staunchly loyal Caela of Gods' Concubine. Here, Noah begins to question everything she had previously accepted, including the Troy Game and her love for Brutus. At first, she begins to teeter into Mary Sue-ness. She is becoming ever more powerful, and it seems like everybody in the entire world is in love with her. But she really wins my heart around the middle of the book, when she begins to break free of the things ever... Read More

Druid’s Sword: Ugh!

Druid's Sword by Sara Douglass

I've been following this series for years, reading each new book avidly as the storyline and the relationships became deeper, richer, more complicated. I couldn't wait to see what sort of denouement Sara Douglass had in store for The Troy Game.
I was particularly interested in what would become of Cornelia/Caela/Noah and her troubled bond with Brutus. I would have been satisfied with either of two possible endings:

(a) A redeemed Brutus asks Cornelia for forgiveness, and she forgives him.

(b) Brutus asks Cornelia for forgiveness, and she smacks him upside the head.

Instead, what do I get? Well, it's a spoiler, so if you want to read it, please highlight this hidden text:

(c) Brutus decides he's "tired" of loving Cornelia and "can't be bothered" with it any... Read More

The Devil’s Diadem: Authentic historical feel

The Devil’s Diadem by Sara Douglass

The Devil’s Diadem, a brand new standalone novel by Australian author Sara Douglass, is set in a realistic but fictional version of early 12th century England. The Norman invasion is still recent history, French is the prevalent courtly language, and the Marcher Lords are powerful nobles who guard the border territory between England and Wales. Maeb Langtofte, an attractive young noblewoman whose family has recently fallen on hard times, is lucky enough to find a position as lady-in-waiting to the Lady Adelie, wife of the most powerful Marcher lord, the Earl of Pengraic. It soon becomes clear that not all is as it seems in the Earl’s household....

The early chapters of The Devil’s Diadem describe Maeb settling into her new life and learning how to navigate the court of a high-ranked noble. She serves the devout Lady Adelie and her children, befr... Read More