|Print List Price:||$14.49|
Save $11.50 (79%)
The Termite Queen: Volume One: The Speaking of the Dead Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
|Length: 404 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
Matchbook Price: $0.00
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
The Termite Queen is the first volume in an epic science fiction fantasy series that begins in the 30th Century on planet Earth. The story centers around Kaitrin Oliva, a xenolinguist (linguistic anthropologist), who is called in to examine a specimen of termite who appears to display intelligence, retrieved during an off-world expedition.
Kaitrin examines the insect and witnesses the creature’s attempt to communicate with her by touch. The termite is in bad shape and dies in her arms during the time frame when a recording of its brain wave activity was taken. Shaken by the encounter, the young associate professor Oliva has a hunch that the creature did indeed communicate with her.
Katrin surmises the language of the termite is transmitted to humans much like that of radio wave frequencies. By examining the brain wave recording at the time of the giant termite’s death, she establishes the beginnings of a rudimentary language. The discovery is so fantastic that Kaitrin insists another off-world expedition should be taken back to the termite planet to learn more about the species and their amazing language.
Professor A’a’ma (a bird-like alien) the head of the linguistic department at the University where Katrin works, and xenoentomologist, Professor Griffin Gwidian agree to embark on another mission to unlock the mysteries of the termite language.
In the meantime, while preparing for their trip, Professor Gwydian falls head over heels for Kaitrin Oliva. Their early relationship results in moments of humor that will have you laughing till you cry. But give it a moment, and you will feel the deep abiding love and passion that erupts as their relationship transitions to marital bliss.
There is much to learn on the Termite planet, and the insects prove to be strange and exotic. Yet, there is a mystery that revolves around Katrin and Griffin, and also between Katrin and the Holy Seer, Kwi’ga’ga’tei. The two story lines intertwined and drew me deeper into the machinations of the story. The writing was propelled forward by the dialogue which I found to be fitting since Katrin studied languages.
Of particular interest, were the skillfully written chapters that dealt with the termite kingdom, written to read like a play. The termite characters were easier to relate to when presented in this manner. I couldn’t help but notice how similar the politics of the insects were to those of their human counterparts. At times, I had to cringe at the thought of “bugs,” but the termites were portrayed in such human terms, I grew to appreciate their differences.
Ms. Taylor has created a grand scheme for the future of humanity by her creation of the Mythmaker Precepts. She does occasionally pause to discuss past Earth history to bring the reader up to date with the time frame portrayed. Be prepared to be emersed into a future culture of an entirely different world than we live in today.
I loved this novel and have added it to my “Me Time,” category. The book is long, and some of the Termite language is tedious, but the story was so engaging I couldn’t put it down. I took my time and immersed myself in this future world created by Ms. Taylor. Stay tuned for my review of Volume II.
Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars
Lorinda J. Taylor's ambitious science-fiction novel The Termite Queen: Volume One: The Speaking of the Dead marks a notable literary debut. A writer possessed of considerable narrative and storytelling talents, Ms. Taylor creates a 30th century adventure that, with but few interruptions, keeps the reader turning pages.
At the center of the action is Ms. Taylor's young, ambitious, and rule-pushing protagonist, Kaitrin Oliva, an `Associate' Linguistic Anthropologist (apparently there are no doctorates in the 30th century; rather, the academic hierarchy, from lowliest to most exalted, runs `assistant,' `associate,' `professor'). Kaitrin's expertise is brought to bear in the aftermath of a disastrous off-world expedition. Her task: decode the bioelectric communication patterns of an alien specimen--a giant termite--collected during the unhappy mission. Kaitrin's linguistic and intuitive gifts soon yield a surprising conclusion: the termite, who suffers an untimely and poignantly rendered demise once removed to earth, is an intelligent life form.
Soon preparations are afoot for a second expedition to the termite planet and Kaitrin joins the team headed by the enigmatic (and sometimes downright oblique!) Griffen Gwidian, Professor of entomology. The two get off to a rocky start, but gradually their relationship morphs into the novel's central love story.
Interspersed with Kaitrin's and Griffen's story is an equally tempestuous second storyline unfolding amongst the inhabitants of the termite planet. This reader confesses to savoring the termite chapters--written in the manner of a play--for the communal culture mindset Ms. Taylor skillfully creates. Her termite aliens--despite genetically embedded caste and belief systems (the latter understandably rooted in a `Great Goddess' concept)--mirror mankind's record for machinations of the type that flare when competing egos collide.
It should be noted that Ms. Taylor, an active member of the `conlang' community (constructed or planned languages) has devoted extraordinary attention to developing, explicating, and rendering in text, the varied languages of her cast of dozens.
Given the author's interest in linguistics, it is not surprising that The Termite Queen is propelled by dialogue--a writerly skill at which Taylor excels. Volume One features pages and pages of dialogue rendered in character-specific voices. With few exceptions, these conversations, and a minimally intrusive narrative voice, drive the story, building tension and momentum while revealing and/or suggesting the mysteries and foibles of the human and the alien heart.
A word about those rare exceptions. Some readers may stumble over the portions of the novel that seem inserted to provide context and historical background (this reader had occasionally to resist the urge to skim). For example, chapter 14, part one, pauses to summarize 900+ years of earth history prior to the 30th century; chapter 9, part two, presents a discussion (between characters) of interplanetary religious customs and practices, while chapter 10, part two, introduces an overview of interplanetary marriage customs and practices. These interludes are not without interest, but they do suspend--however briefly--the story's forward momentum. Yet, given Ms. Taylor's remarkable attention to detail, this reader is willing to trust that nothing has been included that will not eventually--with the release of volume two (?)--serve to facilitate a richer, fuller understanding of the novel.
Finally, a word about Ms. Taylor's interplanetary cast of characters and their otherworldly, tongue-twisting, eye-ball-popping appellations. The Termite Queen Volume One is filled with names to which the reader may occasionally have trouble attaching a personality. Some examples: Mo'gri'ta'tu, Kwi'ga'ga'tei, Ki'shto'ba Huge-Head, Hi'ta'fu, A'a'ma, to `name' a few. The phonetically challenged reader may find it useful, as I did, to develop a sight vocabulary--a 21st century strategy for navigating a vividly rendered, rewarding, and compelling 30th century universe.
Avid readers of science fiction may also find it useful to visit Ms. Taylor's blog site for additional information and explication of her 30th century world and its human and alien inhabitants.
Conclusion: Highly recommended.
Jack A. Urquhart is the author of several works of fiction, including So They Say Collected Stories.