Enchanter and StarMan (books 2 & 3 of The Axis Trilogy) won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel 1996
Enchanter has, unfortunately, a few errata. So much wordage was lost (see note below) that it’s not surprising that there are some textual errors … this is my only chance to correct them! They’re not bad, but they’re annoying. Um, let’s see.
On page 5 (oh god! So early!) the line towards the end of the page that reads “where the Duke of Ichtar had stopped the invasion” should read “where the Duke of Ichtar had thought to stop the invasion”. That was a change of text by the editors I should have picked up, and it makes no sense.
On page 51, again towards the end of the page, Axis should be addressed by the title Strike-Leader when the Crest-Leader asks him his plans. Again an omission not of my doing but I should have picked it up in proofing.
On sundry pages (not too many) there are extra commas that are not needed … but in manuscript of this size a few such errors can be overlooked. (Please!)
Now read on …
In editing Enchanter lost 99,550 words … yes, that’s not a typo. Enchanter was a huge manuscript to begin with – it would have worked out to some 1,069 pages long (all of it utterly worthwhile, I hasten to add!), but with paper prices the way they are … well … Most of the wordage lost was minor action in scenes (side action, almost) and one or two scenes that we really didn’t need, or scenes were rewritten from another character’s perspective which cut things down considerably. (The reason why it was so long was because, like the other two books, I wrote it entirely for myself … something to do in the evenings … and I had a long cold winter to fill in! It just dragged on … and on … and on …) Now it runs to some 740 pages and it reads really quite well (Enchanter has always been, for very personal reasons, my favourite book in the trilogy). If you liked BattleAxe you’ll like Enchanter (as StarMan). The cover for Enchanter is 100% on the cover of (the first edition of) BattleAxe – Axis has gone off his steroids! (Note, Shaun Tan is responsible for the new cover of BattleAxe and has done a great job with it.)
By the way, if you haven’t listened to Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major yet, then make sure you do soon. It provided much of the inspiration for Enchanter.
Enchanter chiefly concerns the battle between Axis and his half-brother, Borneheld. Axis knows he must unite the three races of Tencendor in order to face Gorgrael, yet Borneheld is just as determined to see that he does not get the chance. StarDrifter, together with his mother MorningStar, turns Axis into one of the most powerful Enchanters the Icarii have ever seen – yet in doing so, they discover a fearful secret in his past. Gorgrael plays a much larger role in Enchanter, as does the threatening figure of the Dark Man; together they create a creature that will wreak havoc from the skies. Much of Gorgrael’s background will be revealed – just how did those silly wraiths manage to raise him, anyway? Azhure, already something of a puzzle, sinks even deeper into mysteriousness, but eventually some of the elements from her lost past will begin to fall into place. Faraday learns more of her mission to help the trees but also, as does Axis, learns how dreadfully the Prophecy can both lie and manipulate.
Talking of both the Prophecy and lies and manipulations, in Enchanter the Prophet himself makes his sinister presence felt, and some of his relationship with the Sentinels will be revealed.
Axis becomes more and more obsessed by the traitor in the third verse of the Prophecy … with all but tragic consequences.
The Icarii lifestyle and culture (and especially use of the Star Dance to weave enchantments) is explained is some detail; Talon Spike itself is explored … and with the Icarii we spend a wild and tumultuous Beltide night.
And yes, to all those who have asked, the donkeys continue to plod through the plot. Whatever cataclysm envelops other characters, those donkeys are going to continue to come through with sweet-tempered serenity.
I wonder, if at the end of reading Enchanter you will be able to guess the identity of the Dark Man. Have I made it too obvious? Or have the red herrings deceived you?
©Sara Douglass 1995
Follow this link to see the maps of Tencendor and Escator, the realms where The Axis Trilogy, The Wayfarer Redemption, Beyond the Hanging Wall and Darkglass Mountain trilogy are set.
Editors note: Enchanter is Book 2 of The Axis Trilogy. Overseas it was called The Wayfarer Redemption and The Axis Trilogy was the first half of the series of six books.