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David Anthony Durham

David Anthony Durham(1969- )
David Anthony Durham is the author of Gabriel’s Story — winner of two American Library Association awards — Walk Through Darkness, Pride of Carthage, and Acacia: The War with the Mein, which is one of three novels by the author that have been optioned for film adaptation and also helped him win the 2009 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. You can read an excerpt at Mr. Durham’s website.


Acacia: Challenges us with an uncomfortable warp of the familiar

Acacia by David Anthony Durham

David Anthony Durham's Acacia has some of elements of epic fantasy we’ve all seen before: a large empire, a resentful race, a king’s children scattered and forced to grow into previously hidden strengths, a near-ritualized style of sword fighting, political intrigue, large battle scenes, and a few others. But anyone thinking to write off Acacia as simply another cookie-cutter fantasy would be missing a highly rewarding read — for Durham gives us these familiar set-ups only to repeatedly yank them out from under our feet.

The title of the book is also the name of the empire we meet at the start, an empire that has ruled the “known world” for generations and whose symbol is the acacia tree that adorns its home island. But Acacia is built on a deeply immoral foundation. Long ago, it agreed to a Faustian bargain with the Lotha... Read More

The Other Lands: A mixed bag

The Other Lands by David Anthony Durham

PLOT SUMMARY: Several years have passed since the demise of Hanish Mein. Corinn Akaran rules with an iron grip on the Known World's many races. She hones her skills in sorcery by studying The Book of Elenet and dotes on her young son, Aaden — Hanish's child — raising him to be her successor. Mena Akaran, still the warrior princess she became fighting the eagle god Maeben, has been battling the monsters released by the Santoth's corrupted magic. In her hunt she discovers a creature wholly unexpected, one that awakens long suppressed emotions in her. And Dariel Akaran, once a brigand of the Outer Isles, has devoted his labors to rebuilding the ravaged empire brick by brick. Each of the Akaran royals is finding their way in the post-war world, but the queen's peace is difficult to maintain, and things are about to change.

When the League brings news of upheavals in the Othe... Read More

The Sacred Band: A rewarding conclusion

The Sacred Band by David Anthony Durham

The most pleasant surprise about The Other Lands, the previous book in the ACACIA trilogy by David Anthony Durham, was that it broadened the scope of the series tremendously. Ushen Brae, the setting for a large part of the action in that book, proved to be a complex and interesting place, with its non-human Auldek tribes, several strata of human Quota slaves (from a warrior caste to an organized “Free People” resistance movement), the mostly extinct Lothan Aklun race, and a rich and fascinating history. The Sacred Band doesn’t expand the series’ fantasy world to the same extent as The Other Lands did, although it does reveal some inland areas of Ushen Brae that were previously unseen. Rather than expanding the world, The Sacred Band instead bui... Read More

Fort Freak: A WILD CARDS novel that can be read as a stand-alone

Fort Freak by George R.R. Martin

Fort Freak is the twenty-first entry in the WILD CARDS universe, a long running series of mosaic novels edited by George R.R. Martin. It is not necessary to have read the previous twenty volumes to read this one; Fort Freak works fine as a standalone. There are numerous references to earlier books and cameos by characters that starred in them, but nothing that makes it absolutely necessary to have read earlier volumes. That is probably a good thing. The WILD CARDS series is currently published by Tor, the fourth publisher to take on this series. Some of the older volumes are pretty hard to find these days. The original WILD CARDS novel (1987) has been reprinted by Tor recently, with a number of new stories added, so if you want to read ab... Read More