Tuesday, 1 May 2007

‘The Thousandfold Thought’ – R. Scott Bakker

Steven Erikson says, of ‘The Darkness That Comes Before’, “take note one and all, something remarkable has begun.” With ‘The Thousandfold Thought’ it is a case of the first part of something remarkable coming to an close.
Re-issued in mass market paperback, bridging the gap between now and the release of ‘The Aspect Emperor’ (next year), ‘The Thousandfold Thought’ tells of the closing stages of the Holy War against the heathen Fanim and the march on the fabled city of Shimeh. Once derided as the Prince of Nothing, Anasurimbr Kellhus now leads the Men of the Tusk on their crusade, Achamian the sorcerer burns with love for Esmenet (now Kellhus’ consort) but plots against his own school in order to keep the Warrior Prophet safe. Against this backdrop of war and politics, the inhuman forces of the Consult work frantically to prepare for the coming of the No-God and the Second Apocalypse.
It was only due to some superlative works being published last year that this book did not get the wider recognition that it deserved. Hopefully this second chance will work in its favour. Bakker is equally at home writing about the workings of one man’s devious and calculating mind as he is writing about the movements of thousands of men in battle and this reader was captivated by the attention that he pays to both. The plot is meticulous and intricate, no stone is left unturned and the reader will be surprised at what lies beneath some of these stones. If this wasn’t enough, it is a testament to Bakker’s abilities that he can make some of the most unlikable characters in fantasy fiction so compelling to read. The only place where the story slightly falters is right at the end with a sense of anti-climax in how things are brought to a close. Hopefully this will be remedied when ‘The Thousandfold Thought’ is set in context against the rest of the series.
If you haven’t read this any of Bakker’s work before, start with ‘The Darkness That Comes Before’ and work your way through. I promise you that you’re in for a treat!

Nine out of Ten

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