The Burning Land
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A sweeping tale of magic, oppression, danger, love, temptation, and revelation...
After long years of oppression, the rightful rulers of Arsace have finally reclaimed the holy city of Baushpar and the First Temple of Ârata. At last, the desecrated shrines can be rebuilt and the people's suffering redressed. But tensions between the secular and sacred worlds abound, and rumors arise of heretic Shapers--powerful mages who hold no allegiance either to the King or to the leaders of the Âratist church, and whose magics know no restraint.
Deep in the sacred wastes of the Burning Land, the Dreamer Axane has dared to seek visions of the outside world beyond the hidden enclave of Refuge--a world the people of Refuge no longer believe exists, a world that has no tolerance for change and will soon breach the boundaries of Refuge's secret sanctuary. But Axane's Dreaming is forbidden, and to warn her people is to doom herself...
Chosen to lead an expedition to reclaim the renegade mages, Gyalo Amdo Samchen, priest and Shaper, must cross the Burning Land in a deadly adventure of danger and temptation, a journey that will force him to face his innermost demons and possibilities both sacred and profane. For Refuge hides a shocking truth about the nature of the world itself--a secret that heralds both destruction and transformation, and whose revelation will ignite a holy war.
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Praise for The Burning Land
A deeply felt and richly imagined tale that explores issues of faith, destiny and the fallibility of human nature. It is a complex and ultimately compelling fantasy which will engage thoughtful readers and leave them eager for the next installment.
- Jacqueline Carey, author of the Kushiel series -
Strauss has created a highly original and complex world. From bedrock to the gods, it sparkles with original ideas. Her plotting is devious and unpredictable and yet never forced, because the characters always act in believable ways, true to themselves.
- Dave Duncan, author of the King's Blades series -
The personalities [Victoria Strauss] has built here are so compelling and...the complicated political, religious and social custons so elaborate and well thought out, one can’t help but think—-and after a while, hope-—that The Burning Land is only the first of many.
- January Magazine (Best Fiction 2004) -
The Burning Land is a prime example of the perfectly executed fantasy. Ms. Strauss has created a fast-moving and exciting adventure, set in a fantastic and fully realized world full of religious repression, powerful magic, hidden love and dark secrets...With crisp prose, rich characterizations and a compelling plotline, The Burning Land is a thought-provoking, exhilarating novel.
- Writers Write (Best Fantasy/SF/Horror 2004) -
A complex background of history, culture, and religion gives unusual depth to this powerful fantasy of faith and oppression.
- Carolyn Cushman, Locus -
Compelling...thought-provoking. Fantasy can cast new light on our reality, whether it's a theme of good vs. evil or an exploration of religious truths. Strauss succeeds by wrapping her theology lesson in strong characterization and fine storytelling.
- Cincinnati Enquirer -
An involving novel that shines with intelligence...[Strauss] has put her knowledge to good use here in creating a religious system that actually feels like an integral part of a world that is far removed from our own and yet also resonates with our own multitude of myths and beliefs, thus producing an atmosphere of strangeness combined with an odd and sometimes startling feeling of familiarity...Combined with a solid plot and Strauss' crisp, clean and literate prose, this is one of those novels that envelops readers, the kind of book that makes it a pleasure to linger in its imagined world.
- Science Fiction Weekly -
A sweeping new epic fantasy...Strauss creates a beautifully imagined and impeccably detailed world. The fully realized faith of the Way of Arata, complete with history, tenets and hierarchy, strengthens a timely adventure plot about the dangers of spiritual oppression and the challenges to those who dare to question an established belief system.
- Romantic Times, 4 stars -
Fluidly written, with in-depth characterization and superb world building, this book comes to a satisfying ending that is open enough to leave a sequel a real possibility. For those who like sword and sorcery, theological debate, and strong female characters, this work will have strong, broad appeal.
- VOYA -
Profoundly moving and timely...In this riveting tale filled with magic, intrigue, and treachery, Strauss has succeeded in writing a powerful fantasy novel that is both entertaining and thought provoking. Literary manna.
- Barnes & Noble -
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