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Mother of Lies

by Dave Duncan

With this novel, Dave Duncan, the prolific Victoria-based science fiction and fantasy writer, brings to a close the duology begun with 2006’s Children of Chaos. Mother of Lies is a solid sequel that carries all the strengths of its predecessor and satisfyingly completes a complex tale that successfully incorporates politics, war, polytheistic religion, and family ties.

Returning to Dodec, the dodecahedral world of the previous book, with its distinct cultures, Mother of Lies moves from Vigaelia (the primary setting of Children of Chaos) over the frozen and dangerous Edge into Florengia, and more specifically, the city of Celebre. The four hostage heirs of Celebre have come of age and pledged themselves to powerful deities that take an active role in the lives of their devotees. They now must make their way back to their homeland, where a fraternal struggle has changed the political landscape.

Combining violent and detailed battle scenes and well-plotted sieges with political and religious intrigue, Duncan has done an excellent job of keeping the novel accessible and riveting. As in the first book, the story is told from the viewpoints of many characters, both Vigaelian and Florengian. With a deft touch, Duncan brings humour and lightness into a tale that could easily be weighed down by heavy topics.

Mother of Lies should not be taken as a standalone volume. While it could conceivably be read as such, it is clearly a continuation of the story begun with its predecessor. The two volumes could easily have been published as one lengthy (though thoroughly accessible and enjoyable) tome. Duncan’s skillful storytelling manages to tie up enough loose ends from his huge cast of characters to satisfy readers looking for a comfortable end to the duology, while still leaving open storylines aplenty for those hoping for another visit to Dodec. ­–