Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Isle of the Dead by Roger Zelazny

Isle of the Dead / Eye of the Cat
(Note: mine is a much older cover art) An old friend of mine mentioned in an email how much he'd been influenced by the writings of Heinlein over the years. I, too, assimilated much of Heinlein's philosophy, but was reminded when I re-read Isle of the Dead the other day about Zelazny's immense influence on my life, as well.

Isle of the Dead begins with musings on how life is like Tokyo Bay. All kinds of odd things wash up on the beach and may stay there for a while or be taken away. Sometimes, things which are taken away may return for a while, but mostly they're never seen again.

This has been true in my life, especially as it relates to old friends and acquaintances, but this sort of occurrence is magnified in the life of Francis Sandow, protagonist of Isle of the dead, a man who has lived for centuries and has outlived many old friends and old enemies. At the beginning of the book, Sandow becomes aware that someone may be resurrecting a select group of his old lovers, friends and enemies for unknown but probably nefarious purposes.

As Sandow investigates, pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. An enemy he never even met has brought his old flotsam back to the beach in order to force a confrontation. Sandow and his enemy, GrinGrin Tharl, are both worldmakers, and their final battle brings into play forces which can create or destroy planets.

This one is well worth reading - and re-reading.

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