Copyright 1999 by
I first read this in September 2000 and most recently in June 2001.
Demons and gods exist, but normally on different planes of reality
adjacent to our own. For five thousand years, demons have walked in
China, adapting its conventions and perhaps influencing its beliefs.
Kai Wren, demon lord and creator of worlds, was once a warrior but
now leads a more contemplative life, making beautiful and magical
bottles. He leads a solitary life, except for a one his human
assistant and friend, Oliver O'Keefe.
But one night Oliver is tortured and killed, and Kai Wren determines to
find out why and to revenge his loss. His rather haphazard
investigations, and more importantly the friends he acquires, lead him
to confrontations with the most powerful demons and with the gods
themselves, Along the way he gains, perhaps, a little humanity
Zelazny sadly died in 1995 and this is his final book, completed by Jane
Lindskold. The magical and mundane are mixed in his normal charming
style, the dialogue is often entertaining and the oriental influences
are an interesting introduction, However, the novel is just another
light read of slightly less power than the Amber series (and you know
how I feel about them).
This book would have benefited from some serious editing - specifically
the excision of all references to Fluffinella and the ludicrous Hangar
and Sock Planes. What on earth was this ridiculous and embarrassing
rubbish doing here? Could Zelazny really have written this and
could he have intended that this be included? I can intelligently
suspend disbelief but I can't believe in intelligent suspenders.
Still however lightweight Zelazny's later work became, I'll continue to
treasure his early books, especially the superb "Lord Of Light".
What's it got? Magic, Chinese dragons and animate Fu dogs, Pekinese,
multiple universes, demons, gods and socks.
Loaded on the 17th June 2001.