darkglass mountain

SMSA: Threshold

threshold-2008-rereleaseThreshold by Sara Douglass is a prequel to her popular Darkglass Mountain series. And unlike most prequels, in my opinion, it out rates the series as a whole.

A word of warning though: there are some disturbing scenes of infanticide and domestic violence in this book, although it could be argued that these create the necessary level of horror at the wrongness of the Magi’s work and as well as emotional poignancy.

Nevertheless, this is a strong ‘unputdownable’ book.

©2012 Melanie Ryan / SMSA. To read the full review on the SMSA website please click on this link.

Bookseller & Publisher: The Infinity Gate

the-infinity-gate-1stedition-ausAfter the cliffhanger ending of 2008’s The Twisted Citadel, Douglass’ fans will race through this action-packed final volume in the Darkglass Mountain trilogy.

Douglass certainly knows how to spin a thoroughly compelling, emotion-charged tale. Her characters develop and grow with the story, engaging the reader’s sympathy. The sheer narrative momentum of the storyline helps overcome the occasional unwieldy sentence or clunky piece of writing. This is a dark, powerful novel that will appeal to devotees of the character-driven fantasies of such authors as Robin Hobb and Robert Jordan.

James Francis is a bookseller at Reader’s Feast, Melbourne. This review first appeared in the April 2010 issue of Bookseller+Publisher.

©2010 James Francis / Books & Publishing. To read the full review on the Books & Publishing website please click on this link.

Aussie Reviews: The Twisted Citadel


The Twisted Citadel is the second epic instalment in the DarkGlass Mountain trilogy and brings together the cast of its predecessor The Serpent Bride, though not all in the same alliances, as well as new characters, to continue the story of Elcho Falling and of Maxel (Maximilian) and Ishbel.

This is fantasy as it should be – with a well-defined world, an awesome cast of people and races, and twists and turn aplenty. Readers will be left wanting more – and eagerly waiting the third and final chapter of the story.


©2008 Sally Murphy /Aussie Reviews. To read the full review on the  Aussie Reviews website please click on this link.

Once Upon A Bookshelf: The Twisted Citadel

the-twisted-citadel-us-editionIn the second book in the Darkglass Mountain series, Sara Douglass does not disappoint. It was as exciting and as consuming as all of her other books. It was as I had expected, though – I have had this book sitting on my bookshelf for months, and had purposely left off reading it until I had a whole weekend free where I knew I wouldn’t be interrupted. The Twisted Citadel takes up right after where The Serpent Bride finishes. I don’t even know where to begin to start talking about this book – it’s like a soap opera and there is just so much going on that it’s hard to talk about the plot while trying to keep this post making sense. So, I think I will avoid the plot. Needless to say, you need to read The Serpent Bride before this (and it would probably help to read The Axis Trilogy, The Wayfarer Redemption, Threshold and Beyond the Hanging Wall as well).

Douglass’ writing style drew me in right from the beginning, again, and kept me wanting to see what would happen next. Am really wanting to go back and reread some of her other books now, but there are just so many unread books that are calling to me next. I’m definitely looking forward to getting my hands on the next book in the series, but maybe I’ll have to make my way through The Wayfarer Redemption again within the next year.

©2008 Courtney Wilson / Once Upon A Bookshelf. To read the full review on the Once Upon A Bookshelf website please click on this link. 

Waiting for Fairies: The Serpent Bride

the-serpent-bride-us-1steditionEver since the first Wayfarer Redemption trilogy, when Axis lied to, betrayed and abandoned Faraday, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the work of Sara Douglass. As in life, Ms. Douglass’ characters are rarely either wholly good or evil. From Axis, Starman and former StarGod, hero of the first three books* who did his own share of nasty things; to Gorgrael, Axis’ twisted half-brother and the original villain of the story, who while evil was clearly shaped by the desperate loneliness of being outcast and disfigured.

At the end, I am simply unsure whether I love this book or hate it with all my heart. I do know that I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. The sheer quantity of mistakes the characters make is in direct proportion to their human reality. If they spoke more to each other, forgave more, listened more… They would have no trouble defeating the enemy and winning the day. However, how often do these things happen in the real world? Mostly not at all. Two people who love each other deeply but have hurt each other beyond measure, much as Ishbel and Maxel, have little chance of having a happily ever after in our reality.

That is the element that Sara Douglass brings to her world. She pours in more than the ounce of genuine humanity that we see in other fantasy novels. You can be confident with most books that all will be pretty much as it should in the end. The good guys win; the bad guys are defeated. That’s the way things are supposed to go, right? Not so with these. Douglass weaves as much tragedy into her work as she does happiness. There is no guarantee of a neatly tied up ending here. The work is dirty, messy, and just as like to leave you heart sore as any other thing in life.

*The story is published differently in Ms. Douglass’ home of Australia than it is here in the US. As I am unfamiliar with the Aussie version of things, I refer only to the US versions. The original ‘trilogy’ of The Wayfarer’s Redemption, Enchanter, and StarMan; followed by the subsequent ‘trilogy’ of Sinner, Pilgrim, and Crusader. All six books have been dubbed The Wayfarer’s Redemption series here in the US.

©2007 Kiara / Waiting for Fairies. To read the full review on the Waiting for Fairies website please click on this link.

Darkglass Mountain Trilogy

Tencendor is no more. The land is gone.

But not everyone is dead.

StarDrifter SunSoar, father to Axis, somehow survived the catastrophe and lives in Coroleas. But he is not the only Tencendorian to survive. Caelum SunSoar, in the days before the Timekeeper Demons decimated the land, maintained extensive diplomatic contacts both with the Corolean court and with the court of King Maximilian in Escator across the Widowmaker Sea. Now more than five thousand Icarii, as well Acharites (the human race of Tencendor), the remnants of these diplomatic corps and their families, live scattered about Coroleas and Escator.

Among them are many Enchanters, but none with the same degree of potential as StarDrifter SunSoar.

The destruction of Tencendor was an event that attracted attention all about the edges of the Widowmaker Sea. The Coroleans were amused (they had always envied the Icarii), and the Escatorians were saddened (they had admired the Icarii’s ability and learning), but further afield, in the land of Ashdod far to the south of Escator, news of the downfall of Tencendor promoted intense speculation.

And … well … no … that’s enough of the story line for now, I think!

The Darkglass Mountain trilogy is a chance for me to bring back all my favourite characters (well, most … I am trying desperately to write Hal Bolingbroke into this but don’t think I will be able to manage it) into the one story line. StarDrifter, of course. Axis. Maximilian, King of Escator, and an older Garth Baxter.

There will be new characters – the enigmatic Ishbel, the novitiate priestess of the semi-mythical Viscerati; Salome, a Corolean duchess, who has spent her life trying to hide a terrible secret; Isaiah, the battle-weary Tyrant of Isembaard; his court maniac, Ba’al’uz; and the Skraeling Lord, back at the head of his ghostly army.

You can see the working map for this series – showing the lands of Tencendor, Escator, Ashdod, Viland and Coroleas all shown in relation to the world on which they exist (or existed, in the case of Tencendor!).

You can now also read a page on The Serpent Bride.

©2006 Sara Douglass Enterprises