Friday, April 21, 2006

The Thousandfold Thought by R. Scott Bakker

The Thousandfold Thought concludes Bakker’s Prince of Nothing trilogy, a must read for serious fans of the genre. This final chapter in the series has left me numb, yet craving more.

The book picks up where The Warrior Prophet leaves off in the city of Caraskand. Anasûrimbor Kellhus has fully assumed the role of the Warrior Prophet and controls the will of the holy war effortlessly. He consolidates his power and marches on Shimeh, the city of destiny for the holy, and for a reunion with his mysterious father.

Cnaiür continues his journey of self realization, battles insanity, and gains the attention of the Consult. After all, the Scylvendi served the No-God in the past – will Cnaiür serve the No-God in the present? Will he fulfill his desire to kill Anasûrimbor Moënghus?

Drusas Achamian lives a tortured life – the prophesized world’s savior has his worship, but stole the love of his life. Further, should he yield the Gnosis to Kellhus, the very power of the Mandate School? Is it betrayal, or destiny? Will the strength of Mandate and within Achamian be realized?

Esmenet assumes the right hand of Kellhus – a woman, a whore. How will she wield the power of the Warrior Prophet, how will she be used by Kellhus? Ever haunted by the betrayal of Achamian, can she bare this torch?

The Consult stirs, and rises to the threat posed by the Dûnyain: of Kellhus and Moënghus.

The Thousandfold Thought is the final argument in Bakker’s condemnation of certainty. The price of absolute religious, cultural, and other beliefs becomes clear as the Holy War reaches Shimeh. Bakker’s challenge to the reader is powerful, yet the story, as always, remains accessible and thrilling, without the heavy hand one might expect given what’s written between the lines.

The conclusion to the Prince of Nothing trilogy is an end; however it doesn’t provide the degree of closure craved by many readers. The Holy War is done; the Second Apocalypse is still to come. This world we be visited again in the planned duology, The Aspect Emperor.

So, on my 10-point scale, where 5 is a take-it or leave-it novel that isn’t really recommended and 10 is unsurpassed, The Thousandfold Thought rates 8-8.5, a very high recommendation. The three books of this trilogy are really three parts of a whole, and each part, while spectacular in its own right, does not stand alone. Their true greatness is in the whole of the story; the sum is even greater than its parts.

Related Reviews: The Darkness That Comes Before, The Warrior Prophet, and The Prince of Nothing Trilogy. Interview

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