Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Last Cordate, by Alison Pickrell (OakTara)

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The Last Cordate is a highly imaginative allegorical tale that spans the gamut of human existence from pure innocence to unspeakable depravity and human experience from sublime ecstasy to utter despair. Striving for a suitable literary comparison, I found myself dithering somewhere between JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and John Bunyan’s A Pilgrim’s Progress. And yet, no. It's really in a class by itself.

The Last Cordate tracks the adventures of the beautiful Talasa of Ny-Da, who carries with her the message of hope that will usher in the final era of Diapason, when all creatures of the planet will once again draw into perfect communion with their benevolent creator, Da-Dat-Shee. Both natural and supernatural forces stand against her, they having successfully foiled the missions of the previous two Cordates. Talasa must face not only these external threats, but also the greatest peril of all—that of untested faith within herself.

Talasa travels with two noble companions, Jare and Worthy, as well as Secret, a scribe whose sole function is to record everything that is said and that happens on the journey to Quala-Da, the ultimate destination of her quest. They learn from each other what it means to listen and to trust not just Da-Dat-Shee’s leading within their own hearts and minds, but to the wise counsel of other Dations—followers of Da-Dat-Shee—along the way.

The previous two paragraphs hint that there is some vocabulary to learn. And, oh, there is indeed. At first I was somewhat nonplussed at the five-page glossary at the front of the book, concerned I’d be able to stay on track without having to keep a thumb wedged in the lexicon of players and place names. I needn’t have worried. Ms. Pickrell’s writing is so crisp, her allegorical ties so strong, I never referred to the word list until I’d finished the book. Then I checked back just wondering if I’d missed anything. I hadn’t.

Well conceived in theme and rigorous in detail, The Last Cordate drives you relentlessly along the road with Talasa from the moment she leaves her sanctuary in Ny-Da to the final step she takes on her quest. Oh, and prepare to meet yourself along the way--likely more than once.
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3 comments:

Daniel L Carter said...

Yes this was a great book. I'd recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy or allegories. Great review Bruce.

Blessings,
Daniel L Carter
Author of The Unwanted Trilogy

the mccann clan said...

Huh. Sounds interesting! Would I like it?

Bruce Judisch said...

Janelle,

I think you would. Well written, thought provoking and entertaining. As I noted, take "A Pilgrim's Progress" and paint it against Tolkien's Middle-Earth backdrop and mix some CS Lewis into it. I think Alison did a great job.