- Series: In The Time of The Sixth Sun (Book 3)
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (August 4, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765312042
- ISBN-13: 978-0765312044
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,096,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Land of the Dead (In The Time of The Sixth Sun) Hardcover – August 4, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
An artfully constructed alternate history setting, in which Earth and nearby worlds are ruled by an alliance of the Aztecs and the Japanese, serves as a tantalizing background to a breathless yet tedious stream of battle scenes and complex conspiracies in the third Time of the Sixth Sun installment (after 2005's House of Reeds). Archeologist Gretchen Anderssen, mysterious provocateur Green Hummingbird and other familiar characters find an unusual ancient artifact. Several military forces soon converge on it, with unknown forces behind the scenes pulling the strings, but the focus is not on the politics, intrigue and people behind this complex encounter. Instead, battles are described at length in technical jargon, spaceships explode with monotonous regularity and bodies pile up by the dozens, overwhelming the intriguing subtleties of the world. (Aug.)
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“If you like space opera you will enjoy Thomas Harlan's House Of Reeds. I look forward to his next book set in this milieu."--Paul Hanley, SF Crowsnest, on House of Reeds
“An eerie, utterly compelling puzzler, replete with fascinating ideas and absorbing characters.”--Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Wasteland of Flint
"Against that intriguing background, Harlan sets an archaeological adventure of epic proportions…. The trickle of details regarding the long-passed original inhabitants of Ephesus III heightens and sustains the fascination of an already action-packed story.”--Booklist on Wasteland of Flint
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The only critical remarks I have about the book is that the cover jacket looks cheap. I didn't care for the generic-looking art, and there seems to be a bit of flimsiness to the heft and binding...but even if the publisher had to cut costs to publish this book, I'm grateful they published it.
We have hitherto unheard-of Powers and Organizations enter the stage this time round. It appears that the Aztec Empire controls information about the true situation of the human race vis-a-vis the other intelligent species in the universe very tightly, and that the reader apparently had no need-to-know about some of these races in the previous volumes. Not only that, but there are some decidedly startling human organizations active in human space; at least one of them appears to be about equally as powerful as the Aztecs. It's strange we didn't hear about them before...but they are a secret society, after all.
I enjoyed the wider view of his alternate world that Harlan gives us in Land of the Dead, and the suspenseful plot couldn't have been tighter. This is a book to make you lose sleep, but it's worth the bleary eyes the next morning. The ending was a total head-slapper for me. Who woulda thunk...hey, I liked HIM! And how could she...well, buy the book. Read it!
So, to get this straight, I have to say the science fiction genre cannot be assessed in the too few lines Amazon would let me write for this review, if I ever wanted to. So let' assume this particular serie, though it shares a few key elements with other well known series, can stand on it own based on the sheer complexity of its plot and its character development without falling in the pitfall authors usually fell for when they try their best at writing 'space saga' spaning across whole universes.
The author, Thomas Harlan, certainly knows how to keep it tight following only several protagonists and still be able to make us feel overwhelmed with a sheer sense of hugeness implied by the reconstructed universe he is trying, and succeeding, to sell us.
My only problem with it is that the author writes too slowly. But I guess it's the price to pay if you want to read a Masterpiece.
Honestly, however, I would much rather Harlan went back to the Oath of Empire series and actually 'end' it. I very much enjoyed that alt-history-fantasy series, but it just sort of 'stopped' without any real ending or closure.
First rate !