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Gate of Ivrel by C.J. Cherryh
Cover art by Michael Whelan
Published by DAW Books
Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel
Gate of Ivrel by C.J. Cherryh can be read as fantasy, a story of magic and of ancient sorcery. In actuality it is a story of super-science seen through the eyes of a low-tech outcaste warrior who understands nothing of what he sees.
Nhi Vanye i Chya is the illegitimate son of the lord of one of Ivrel's feudal holdings, whose society is vaguely reminiscent of feudal Japan. When Vanye is set upon by his legitimate half-brothers during a practice fight, he slays one and maims the other. Although Vanye pleads self-defense, his father casts him out as a kin-slayer.
Stripped of his warrior's braids and honorable employment, Vanye begins a hopeless voyage to distant relatives who may take him in. On the way he encounters Morgaine, the legendary witch-woman who is actually an agent sent through space and time to close the terrible Gates that have the power to destroy time itself if they are left around to be used by the wrong people.
By his people's code of honor she claims his service for a year, then leads him in a hopeless assault against the sorceror king who is running the world's master gate without understanding at all what he uses. At the end they only succeed in driving him forth through his Gate, and then Morgaine must follow him through and seal the Gate from beyond. She wants Vanye to stay in his own world, but he regards himself as so deeply oathbound that he follows her anyway, setting the stage for the sequel.
Click to buy Gate of Ivrel in trade paperback.
This review posted October 18, 2000
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