This is a big book (mind you, thousands of words are likely to get cut in editing!), possibly as large as Enchanter and StarMan. The problem with Pilgrim is that it has a very clear ending, and although I thought seriously about trying to finish at an earlier point in the plot line, it just wouldn’t have worked.
So what happens? The basic plot of Pilgrim concerns itself with the resurrection of Qeteb – thus I had to end at Grail Lake with Qeteb finally rising from death. The TimeKeepers travel about to all the Lakes, negotiate the traps the Enemy left in place, and gather together warmth, breath, movement and soul and reconstitute their beloved Midday Demon. This takes them some months – enough time for a couple of other things to happen to intrigue the reader!
At the end of Sinner, the Demons had broken through the Star Gate. Caelum, Zared and some 30,000 men were encamped in the northern Silent Woman Woods, Axis, Azhure and the other Star Gods were somewhere close to the Ancient Barrows, and Faraday had struggled out of the Star Gate chamber with Drago in tow. Basically Pilgrim begins as everyone gathers in Caelum and Zared’s camp (imagine the scene as Axis and Caelum come face to face with Drago!) and tries to work out what to do next. The immediate problem is how to survive – the TimeKeepers have broken through, and certain hours of the day are hell (so to speak) to venture forth. Tencendor – the land, the animals and the sundry races – are being devasted … the illustration above depicts it all very nicely. Axis, Azhure and Caelum decide to head off to Star Finger to see if there are any ancient texts, suggestions or secrets the ancient mountain harbours (remember in StarMan the mountain was basically turned into a massive library), Zared decides he has to get himself and the army back to Carlon (How?? What do you do with an army of 30,000 men when you have to scamper across two weeks’ worth of plains to get home when every third or fourth hour is going to be a nightmare?), Zenith and StarDrifter head off to the Minaret Peaks to have a chat to FreeFall about what’s happening, and Faraday and Drago (who is slightly the worse for wear after Axis has finally had a go at him) head off to Cauldron Lake to meet with Noah and find out what’s what.
Without giving away too much of the story, here follow some broad plot lines that appear in the book:
- Who exactly is Drago (have you guessed yet?), and what did he mean when he said he was the Enemy? He literally is the Enemy, but so is Faraday, and so is Leagh, and so is Goldman, and so is DareWing … can you work out why?
- I finally explore the incest theme to its fullest – what happens when 2 members of the SunSoar clan fall in love (or is that lust?), but have moral problems with the fact they are close relatives? I also have a look at the reasons why the SunSoars have this problem in the first instance (I use the story of the Sparrow in How the Icarii got their Wings).
- Faraday finds, to her horror, that to some extent she is re-living the events of her previous life … does this mean she will again be sacrificed so that Tencendor can be saved? How does she feel about this, and how will it influence her original promise to aid Drago (I mean, having gone through what she did once, would you want to do it again?)?
- The original Enchantress appears, having decided that everything has got out of control and she just has to put things right again. But who is she? (Hint: an old favourite from The Axis Trilogy.)
- We find out who fathered the Acharite race (in the story How the Icarii got their Wings the Enchantress had three sons, each of whom founded the Acharite, the Icarii and the Charonite races) which has some amazing results for those of Acharite blood.
- Those two friendly white donkeys finally get some action of their own.
- Another white beast makes a startling comeback … and it isn’t Urbeth (although she appears as well).
- Zared and Leagh have some ghastly problems … and of course Askam is in the thick of it.
- You will finally find out what Sigholt’s bridge does when she decides someone isn’t true.
- RiverStar’s murderer is revealed (of all the people who have written in with suggestions as to who it is, I don’t think anyone has got it right yet, although I’ve had some wonderful suggestions. To me, it is blindingly obvious, but then I guess I did write it …)
- We find out what secret the basements of Star Finger (Talon Spike) really do contain … in StarMan there was a scene where the Gryphon invade the mountain, then get confused by strong enchantments that had been put in place to steer them clear of the basements of the mountain, where the Icarii were supposed to hide. Of course, the Icarii were not there, either having been evacuated or choosing death, but the book did mention there was something else there that was effectively screened from the Gryphon. What?
- WolfStar finally gets a payback for all the wrongs he has done (this is a truly nasty, nasty scene, and I fully expect it to get the chop by a horrified editor!).
- The book ends with Caelum’s dream about being hunted through the forest-cum-Maze becoming reality … but it has an unusual – and rather lovely – twist to the ending.
The book is so long because I had to take it to the point where Qeteb rises, and then is finally challenged by the StarSon (the actual end of the book). Meanwhile, there’s an awful lot of action going on.
©1998 Sara Douglass
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: Pilgrim is Book 2 of The Wayfarer Redemption. Overseas it was book 5 of The Wayfarer Redemption and The Axis Trilogy was the first half of the series of six books.