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|The Siege of Dome
by Stephen R. Lawhead
Published by Lion Publishing, 1986
Suggested by: Ross Pavlac
At the end of The Search for Fierra, Orion Treet returned to Dome to try to prevent another nuclear attack by the forces of Dome against the peaceful Fieri. Asquith Pizzle and Yarden Talazac chose to stay with the Fieri, while Crocker, the pilot, followed Treet to Dome. In the second volume of the story, we follow the four characters, plus a number of other characters from Dome, through the rest of their adventures. Pizzle and Talazac begin to make progress in their spiritual (and, in Pizzle's case, emotional) development, while Treet is caught up in a purge launched by Dome's new Supreme Director to eliminate rivals for his power, and a revolt launched by some of those rivals.
For me, at least, the promise in the first volume remains unfulfilled. The spiritual theme which started to develop so strongly in Talazac's story remains frustratingly vague, Pizzle doesn't quite seem to have any reason to be in the story beyond stating the obvious from time to time, Crocker functionally disappears from the narrative long before he does so in fact, and Treet is put in a situation where things are done to him far more than he gets to do anything, so what choices he does get to make don't count for all that much. In addition, we don't get to learn much more about the Fieri (or Dome, for that matter) than was revealed in the first book. (There is a new group of characters introduced, but the potential for storytelling inherent in their nature and home is left largely unexplored.)
Probably the worst parts, for me, are the combat scenes. I've read a fair amount of military SF, as well as straight military history, and these scenes simply do not come across as convincing. Similarly, the group dynamics and tactics of the revolt (or the purge, for that matter) simply don't jive with what we know from history. And, alas, the overwhelming optimism at the end of the story about being able to restructure a society in a quick and orderly manner simply don't fit with the experience of citizens of the former Soviet Union, which began to break apart just three years after this volume was published.
Because of the promise of the first volume, I was looking forward to this one. However, I suspect that it will only please diehard Lawhead fans, or else those who were so captivated by the characters in the first book that they simply can't sleep at night without knowing what happens to them. Greg Slade (July, 2007)
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