Book Review: Touched By The Gods By Lawrence Watt Evans

joyalariwoStarred Page By joyalariwo, 13th Dec 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Science Fiction & Fantasy

Meet the hero blessed with incredible strength, enhanced endurance and no matter the injury, has the ability to heal fast but whether there is fame or fortune attached, this superman doesn’t want to be a hero.

Touched By The Gods In A Nutshell

The chosen one of the gods has being long dead but the ruling nation of Domdur, don’t seem to need one because they had conquered the lands both far and near, they had total world domination with no fear of unrest, the harvest was good and the ruling empress though frail in years was still strong and alive, as well as ruling sensibly even though it was through her son in-law, so they didn’t need any hero if there was any problem they could just ask the gods.

Yes, whatever questions that needed answers, just seek an oracle and the gods would answer; from what to wear, what to eat when and how to travel, even up to who would succeed the throne. But one day, a shocking thing happened…. the people asked for answers but the gods didn’t reply, the unthinkable had happened, the gods were silent!

There was shock all around but the people were mostly afraid, how would the world fare if the gods didn’t speak to us, how would the world go on if there were no gods, asked the people of Domdor?

My Thoughts

Of cos humanity would survive either way, just as the people of Domdor soon realized, the sun still shun the hundred moons still twirled in their orbits, crops still grew so they raked in harvests year after year.

Just as there were deaths, children were also born and marriages were still contracted because people still fell in love .... the only worry was on who would succeed the throne, for at that moment when the gods fell silent, a tussle for the throne was underway and this had never happened before.

Malledd

On the day that Malledd was born, an old priest traveled a great distance to his village of Grozerodz just to see him, he wanted to witness the sign of the war god Bae’l upon Malledd’s face. On seeing the birth mark, the priest was very convinced that Malledd was the next champion of the Domdor Empire but Malledd’s parents thought otherwise.

Malledd’s father knew that his only son was very special to him and that he would one day follow in his trade as a smith, but he felt that champions came from only the highly placed as well as royalty. Days later after the priest’s weird visit, the gods become silent and it was only a handful of priests, as well as the people in Grozerodz that know about Malledd.

As he grew in years and later becomes the strongest in his village, he was able threaten all not to talk or even whisper about that weird visit. Malledd felt that his life had being marred by a myth that would never come to pass and he just wanted to live a normal life.

Well I thought that the priests keeping silent about Malledd’s identity, even with all the grave threats to the empire, seemed more than just a selfish desire both on the part of Malledd as well as the priest, I mean Malledd was the champion willingly or not, him joining the fight would have ended it but I guess it would’ve being a rather short book.

The people of Grozerodz also kept mum, even when men from the village went off to war and died, I would’ve thought that bragging about their hero would’ve overshadowed any threats from Malledd at that moment, he couldn’t very well beat up everyone in the village to keep em quiet?

Malledd eventually joins the fight against the nightwalkers but refuses to lead the army of Domdur or even to be hailed as the champion.

Lord Duzon

Lord Duzon was a handsome strong young man, loyal to the empire and even though he wasn’t chosen by the gods, he thought that the role fitted him perfectly because when the role call of “would be champions” organized by the governing council assembled, he came out tops in strength and endurance and don’t forget he was also intelligent.

Well I thought that Duzon was vain at first but later warmed up to his character, cos he was sincere and just wanted the best for the empire. Well he eventually got his hearts desire and was later hailed by the people and even the gods themselves as the right divine champion.

Prince Zolous
The empress had a set of twins and with two seconds behind makes Prince Zolous the younger twin, not as ambitious as his elder brother, Zolous knows that even if he doesn’t ascend the throne, one of his six children would some time in the future because his elder sister Darisei had no children and was past child bearing age, same for his elder twin Prince Garubris, who only had a son that died a few years ago.

So Zolous was wise and he could afford to be patient but he was surprised when the governing council picked him over his brother to become the next Emperor.

Princess Darisei

Married to Prime Minister Granzer, Darisei wants to rule mainly because she’s the eldest child of the empress, she feels that she’s the wisest of the lot and being the first born was a plus for her. She gets mad when reminded that she’s just a woman and argues that it matters not in the least, afterall her mother was the reigning empress and had ruled wisely and justly.

But those were in peace times, argued those who were against her ascension bid, the Domdor empire had being at peace eons ago even before her mother became the empress. What was needed now was a more firmer and decisive hand because the gods were silent, there was new distrustful magic flying everywhere, worse a vast army of nightwalkers, which are actually the living dead was matching under the leadership of a revengeful war lord called Rebriri Nazakri.

Lord Granzer
He is the prime minister and with the empress indisposed, he is the administrator of all Domdur, he’s good at his job but was surprised, when some members of the governing council approached him and urged him to be the emperor.

His administrative duties were excellent so far and being married to Darisei, as well being first cousins to many at Royal court, gave him many points but Granzer points out that the empress had three children and six grandchildren, besides the many other relatives who were closer in line to the throne.

In the end Granzer lets them know that even though he’s good at the job, he isn’t so ambitious but wants the best for the empire. He doesn’t want to be emperor but as much as he loved his wife, he sure as hell didn’t want her overbearing attitude on the throne.

Rebiri Nazakri

Nazakri was a descendant of one of the conquered last tribes by the Domdur, even as a ninth generation of the Olnami tribe, Nazakri could still feel the taste of bitter defeat and swore to level the kingdom of Domdur to dust. With the help of a secret ally, who by the way turned out to be one of the gods, Nazakri eventually got his revenge in droves.

After the gods fell silent, many turned to the new magic, Nazakri was able to learn this new magic but used it for dark magic, he used it to awaken the dreaded nightwalkers and increased their numbers to a standing army, which never ate nor tired out. The only aim of a nightwalker was to kill and each corpse was turned to became another nightwalker, did I mention that the only way to kill a nightwalker, was to separate its heart or head from its body.

Nightwalkers never stop or sleep, except when the sun comes out but even at that I am sure it was a sight to behold…. all that gory gore, the fear first creeps in before anything and that was many a nightwalkers trap.

Baranmel

I left the gods tale for last, it’s the most interesting part of the book and well because to be really really honest, this book was more than just the tale of a hero who didn’t want to be the hero. Instead of being at the forefront of the battle, Malledd preferred to stay in the city to be a handy smith, later he reluctantly attends a wedding and Baranmel the god of festivity shows up, well at a time when the gods were supposedly silent, it was a blessing indeed for any couple to have Baranmel grace their wedding for it was an ensuring sign that their marriage would last forever.

But Malledd wasn’t happy to see Baranmel or any god for that matter, he sort of sulked in a corner hoping to be inconspicuous as possible because he was hurt and equally angry that if he was the divine champion, then why the hell hadn’t Baranmel danced at his wedding, well then he thought it only goes to show and prove his theory that the priests had lied and he was not any divine champion.

Well a god isn’t one if they don’t know the deepest of things, Baranmel appeared before Malledd and eventually told him the whole story and I got to understand why it was difficult for a hero to accept being the hero.

The God’s Tale

All the gods have their roles to play but to become more relevant, they each had to be the patron gods to the various tribes. Bae’l was the god of war and he was the strongest, the other gods soon realized that even though they were the patron god of any tribe, their loyal subjects always prayed to Bae’l for a successful war venture and with every drop of blood shed further made Bae’l stronger.

Well getting tired and upset with Bae’l did no good, Samardas was the god of wisdom, so he devised a plan to hopefully put an end to all the fighting and bloodshed.
He called a meeting with the other gods and together they agreed to support one tribe against all the others, they also withdrew whatever support they had for their loyal subjects and transferred it to this dominant tribe, a divine champion blessed with super human gifts from the gods, would also to emanate from this chosen tribe.

Bae’l was very excited; he thought it was a wonderful plan, as his thirst for blood would be sated in a very long war for dominion. Well the war campaign went on for many years but soon stopped, when all the tribes had being conquered by the chosen tribe of Domdur.

A dominant tribe fully supported by all the gods, eventually spelt no more wars in future, thus no more blood. It was already too late before Bae’l realized that he’d being tricked by his fellow gods to “trade away an eternity of minor wars, for just a century of pillage and blood”. Bae’l was angry but knew that brute force against his fellow gods wouldn’t work since his powers had also weakened in the last centuries of peace, so he decided to be as clever or should I say as "trickishly wise" as Samardas.

Bae’l spoke to his fellow gods and later convinced them that since the Domdur was now total in power, there was no more need for the gods, that going silent was the in-thing. I bet Bae’l also sold the “me” time therapy to all the gods but it worked and the gods fell silent, speaking to no man and took a well extended holiday from human contact…. that’s when Bae’l kicked off the second phase of his plan by reneging on the deal of no communication with humans.
Bae’l secretly became the patron of Nazakri, he made some people discover the new magic which was channeling energy from the sun and since he didn’t want any divine champion spoiling his plans, he caused Malledd to have doubts about his divine champion status.

That’s the god’s tale in a nutshell, Malledd heard it all and later went off to the warfront to fight but not to lead, guess that was still Bae’l working. After defeating Nazakri and his nightwalker army, Malledd later dies, he isn’t hailed as a hero, which was his heart’s desire but he was able to live again, as a normal human being.

Memorable Texts

Touched By The Gods had some memorable quotes and texts, here are some of note.

“Malledd was not sure he believed that particular detail, even if the gods could be sufficiently petty to fight amongst themselves, would they really use mere men and women as their weapons? And even if they had, how did the storytellers know it”. pg 151

“The champion of champions, Lord Duzon thought as he looked out under the dripping brim of his hat, ha! That was a sorry joke. Of all the ill-disciplined, mismatched, egotistical, thumb-fingered trouble makers beneath the hundred moons, this bunch had to be the cream of the crop. If the gods really had chosen anyone from this crowd to defend the empire, anyone other than himself, at any rate- then the gods were quite mad. Of the forty-one men nominally under his command, Duzon considered all but a handful useless. Half of them could not even ride a horse!” pg 153

“One of the corpses twitched in the gathering twilight; Tso Hat glanced up, then looked away. Some of the nightwalkers weren’t bad. The were all pale and dead-looking, of course and the smell of death was everywhere around them but if you didn’t look at their lifeless black eyes and didn’t take any deep breaths, some of them could pass for living, albeit unhealthy people.
Others weren’t so pleasant - especially the ones who’d been fighting. Their wounds gaped open, bones and organs showing through; flies buzzed around them and the torn flesh rotted, blackened and stank. No one would ever mistake those for anything but corpses. Tso Hat dreamed of the day when he would no longer have to stay anywhere near them.
For one thing, quite aside form the smell and the ugliness; it was demeaning serving as a guard for a bunch of reanimated corpses. Tso Hat had seen himself as a revolutionary, planning strategy, leading the peasants in uprisings and someday taking his place in a new government of a free Matua; he had not expected to be a mere guard for an unburied grave yard.
Someone had to guide the nightwalkers, certainly during the day- but he didn’t want to be the one to do it”. pg 175

“The wise don’t seek comfort in the truth”. pg 345

Photo Credits & Articles

Touched By The Gods was a long enjoyable read, thanks to Jennifer Lewis, Nikkit, David Stokes, Marc and Nathan Arrington for the photos.

For more book reviews click these links
The Concubine
The Fires Of Heaven

Tags

Demons, Divine Champion, Gods, Hero, Joyalariwo, Lawrence Watt Evans, Living Dead, Nightwalkers, Oracle, Tags Touched By The Gods, Zombie

Meet the author

author avatar joyalariwo
I am a screen writer who loves reading, watching movies and gardening. I like traveling and meeting people, here's hoping you enjoy my writing as well!

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
25th Dec 2013 (#)

great review joyalariwo...many thanks and pics are great..festive greetings to you and yours...

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