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The Last Dragoneer (The Chronicles of Susah) (Volume 3) Paperback – May 15, 2014
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About the Author
C. D. Sutherland is a B-52 pilot turned novelist with his THE CHRONICLES OF SUSAH series. These novels defy conventional classification as they blend action and emotional tension with technology and spiritual intrigue in a coming of age story wrapped in an epic adventure set in the antediluvian age. Born in Virginia, to the son of a coal-miner, who escaped a life in the dark Appalachian mines by joining the U.S. military, C. D. Sutherland also joined the military. After high school, he served in the Air Force for thirty-two years, seeing much of the world and doing things most men have only dreamed about doing.
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Susah is the character in suspended animation, for approximately seventy-five years -- the years that would have taken up books 3-10 had Sutherland stuck to his original plan. I was wrong about a few things. For example, Susah does agree to marry the Cainite prince (twice) and Noah does invite her to board the Ark (she declines, for numerous reasons). The cause of the Great Flood is explained (of which I will say only that the Lord moves in mysterious ways). Given Sutherland's distinctive brand of militarist paleoconservatism, part of me is glad I only contributed to him his share of royalties for one more book instead of nine, after reading the first two. But part of me wishes Susah had lived through those seventy-five years as a Sethican officer and seen everything go to pot. She could have loved another Sethican, had children with him, then lost them all. This would have allowed Susah to become an even meatier character. It would also have allowed book 11 to end with her sacrificing herself and a dragon to give the last few pairs of animals time to board the Ark as I had envisioned.
Alas, I lack the ability to mind meld and could not instruct such a strong-willed author (and dangerous man) as Sutherland on how to finish his series anyway. So I am happy to provide the only negative review (not surprisingly given as I am not a young earth creationist) to this novel. It's a good antidote to extreme boredom and good for a few laughs (such as when Satan says to a fellow demon, "Sucks to be you", or Sutherland lampoons the Affordable Care Act). But everything we really need to know about the author's philosophy was revealed in the first book. If you didn't like what you read there, you probably shouldn't buy this book; it will be at best a guilty pleasure.
The previous books introduced the city, Sethica, an island of humanity surrounded by a world increasingly influenced--and polluted--by the demon Abaddon. Here in Book 3, we learn along with Susah just how protected she was, and how little she was allowed to know about the greater reality of her time. The peoples, cultures, and technologies introduced in the first two books expand exponentially here. There's a lot to keep track of, just as we today have much to keep track of as we try to keep up with current events and their meaning within a greater context. This is the beauty of Sutherland's creation, that it allows such rich comparison with our day, enough so that I wonder what greater realities I am not allowed to know about in my own time. I am delighted with the hints that Sutherland sprinkles throughout Susah's adventures, as if daring me to believe yet another possibility.
Perhaps some of the details are transparent fantasy-fiction fun, but there are broad strokes running through Susah's story that make me sit bolt upright and wonder about new possibilities, and that alone is worth a great deal to me. All the while, Sutherland gives all due respect to the Biblical source and the central figure of that age, Noah. The series is the achievement of a daring imagination, and Book 3 brings Susah's arc of adventures to a very satisfying finale. And remember, she's Noah's daughter. ;)