Science fiction and fantasy                                            

The Still

by David Feintuch


With The Still David Feintuch makes his move from science fiction to fantasy in a tale of kingdoms, wars and betrayals. He manages to instill fear and wonder without the aid of traditional sword 'n' sorcery props such as dragons, elves, trolls, or other Tolkeinesque creatures. For the hero, Rodrigo, the magic of the Still comes at a great personal cost. Yet Feintuch refuses to cop out by using it as a solution to all Rodrigo's problems.

The kingdom of Caledon is poised to descend into civil war, and Rodrigo believes that the regent, his uncle, would see him and his brothers dead. Rodrigo starts out as a maddeningly self-obsessed brat, but becomes more likeable as he grows and learns. He escapes with the help of Rustin, his best friend, and travels the country in an attempt to drum up support. Feintuch paints a beautiful picture of a romance between two men. Without ever being gratuitous, their relationship is unambiguous. It's a central theme of the book, which is far more out than Feintuch's Hope series.

The author excels himself in his portrayals of statecraft, and the sleight-of-tongue matches are riveting. In Uncle Mar we see shades of the Richard III of popular imagination. The action is frenzied yet believable, with wounds festering and casualties never being confined to the opposition. This pace continues until the end of the book, and left me looking for the sequel. After almost 600 pages it could have done with winding down a bit more.

For all that, Feintuch brings much needed restraint and depth of character to a genre which is often hard to take seriously. It's a believable fantasy for adults with uncommon attention to detail. Recommended.

Book Details

Decade: 1990s

Categories: Books

    Male Protagonist  

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Review © Ros Jackson


Maria     1st February, 2005 17:56pm

I enjoyed "The Still" very much, despite a few things that bothered me. I have to say that I didn't find Rodrigro as infuriating as some did, but that doesn't mean I'm on his side at all. He's an arrogant coward, with no regard for anyone's feelings.
One thing about him irks me a whole lot and I can't let it go- Even though he sleeps with Rustin, he never stops complaning about his virginity. Over there I guess they think sleeping with women only will make them lose their virginity.
I mean, it's not like he isn't getting any. Yet, he keeps wallowing in self pity.
Overall I enjoyed this book and I congratulate David Feintuch's skill at provoking emotion from the reader. While reading, at times, I would fell like screaming at Rodrigo and making him understand and get over his obsession. After all, he does have Rustin.

Book     29th July, 2005 01:11am

Haven't finished reading the book and just don't take to that 'ASS' of a prince..Extremely rude, ill-mannered and self-centered..Have to finish the book..Bought it only due to it's 'Homosexual' undertones and i'll definitely NOT read the second, which is: The King...I heard that Rustin **** and his character/personality has changed drastically and that Roddy married etc...

Stephen     24th September, 2005 10:26am

Wonderful, the array of charecters just take life in front of your eyes. Although it does start rather slowly it quickly picks up and slowly draws you in, until you feel as though you are living and breathing beside Rodrigo.

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