Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Review: Kalin

Kalin by E C Tubb

In his endless search for his home planet Earth, Earl Dumarest manages to forget the lost of his first love Derai when he meets a troubled woman named Kalin, who has the ability to see into the future.  Lost in a life bubble after surviving a botched hijacking attempt that destroys the ship they were travelling on, Dumarest and Kalin are rescued by a slaver.  Though Dumarest has enough money to keep them from being sold on the auction block, they instead find themselves dropped on the planet Chron; a miserable mining planet where the mines run on slave labour and there is no other way to earn a living.  Dumarest must find a way to keep both himself and his new love alive while finding a way off the planet.  Meanwhile, on another planet, the Cyclan sends one of their order to offer his services to a local noble, despite the fact that their world is too poor to afford their services.  What is it that they seek there?

The fourth book in the Dumarest Saga, this is where the series settles down into the pattern it will maintain from now on.  With less of an emphasis on intrigue than on a plot revolving around survival in various forms, Kalin is a simple, harsh story with moments of real tension when it seems that Dumarest is well and truly screwed for good.  More important, up until now, the relationship between Dumarest and the Cyclan has been one of mere mutual hatred–the Cyclan have killed those Dumrest loved and tried to kill him repeatedly, while he has been a thorn in the order's side.  By the end of this book, this changes when Dumarest comes into possession of a secret that the Cyclan want desperately and will stop at nothing to recover.  After this, Dumarest's quest becomes a chase as well.  Also, we learn more about the benevolent Brotherhood, who become allies of Dumarest in his adventures, though only as far their code permits.  Nevertheless, we get more insights into their organisation and another dimension is added to the saga.

This novel not only marks a turning point  in the saga, but it is also the one where Tubb reveals a greater love and command of the English language.  His descriptions become more on the mark and the world that forms the backdrop to Dumarest's adventures becomes more vivid and even stark at times.  It is here that the saga really begins.

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