Sinner begins some forty years after the conclusion of Starman. Caelum now rules Tencendor and on the surface all appears peaceful. But there are tensions. Askam, son of Belial and Cazna, controls much of the trade between north and south – to the detriment of Zared, Prince of the North (son of Rivkah and Magariz). Many of the Acharites are concerned that while Axis left the Icarii with their Talon and (eventually) gave the Avar their own Mage-King, their Acharite monarchy was destroyed. Many among the humans hunger for a king of their own – still subordinate to Caelum of course, but a king of their own. Zared, as the only legitimate son of Rivkah, the last of the royal line, not only has the claim, but the insignia of office (Axis gave them to Rivkah after he defeated Borneheld in the Chamber of the Moons in Enchanter). And if Zared decides to resurrect the throne of Achar, does that mean that age-old hatreds, as the Seneschal, might also be revived?
As there are tensions in the land and among the peoples of Tencendor, so there are tensions among the SunSoar family itself. Axis and Azhure now walk with the Star Gods – they rarely bother themselves with Tencendor. Drago has grown into a surly and resentful man. He cannot remember the events that saw him stripped of his Icarii power; all he can see and know is that while his brothers and sisters revel in power and youth, he ages under the restrictions of his human blood. RiverStar, never loving, turns her spiteful tongue against her family, inciting the tensions beyond anything she anticipated. Zenith, the youngest of Axis and Azhure’s children, is deeply troubled. She has disturbing dreams – memories that she should never have surface and eat away at her peace of mind. Caelum has problems of his own. He sits the Throne of the Stars ruling Tencendor, yet that brings frightful responsibilities – and sometimes Caelum listens to the wrong advice.
Add to the tensions within the SunSoar family a gruesome murder – I challenge my readers to name me the murderer as I have challenged you to guess the true identity of WolfStar – and the family will split in two, disastrous at a moment when Tencendor is challenged from beyond the Star Gate.
WolfStar had always surmised that other worlds existed beyond the Star Gate, and he had always worried that the Star Gate provided a portal through which a people could invade. His worries bear fruit when it is realised that ‘something’ is coming through the Star Gate, intent on recovering whatever it is lies buried in the depths of the Sacred Lakes. But are these beings evil, or is their mission justified? And why do they bring with them the children that WolfStar had murdered some four thousand years previously? With the children, intent on her own revenge, comes StarLaughter, WolfStar’s wife, whom he had cast into the Star Gate when she was pregnant with their son. With her, she brings their undead child, born among the stars and somehow peculiarly … vacant.
Adding to the mystery and the worry is the realisation that whatever lies beneath the Sacred Lakes are growing and literally spreading tentacles throughout Tencendor … and controlling events in their own strange way.
What should be feared more? What (or who) comes through the Star Gate? Or what (or who) lies at the foot of the Sacred Lakes?
©1997 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: Sinner is Book 1 of The Wayfarer Redemption. Overseas it was book 4 of The Wayfarer Redemption and The Axis Trilogy was the first half of the series of six books.