Mistress of the Pearl
By Eric Van Lustbader
(Tor Books, Hardcover, 9780312872373, 592pp.)
Publication Date: October 27, 2005
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Kundala is Miina's world, created by that Goddess with the help of the dragons. But Miina is missing, and her people have been enslaved by the alien V'ornn. Now a savior has come, the Dar Sala-at, a messiah promised by prophecy yet unlike anyone's expectations: within the body of a beautiful young woman is the mind and spirit of a unique Kundalan female who is joined in mystical partnership with the mind and spirit of Annon Ashera, a V'ornn male, the last survivor of a noble family. Together the two adolescents have matured and merged into a new joint identity. Now their common destiny, and Kundala's, is in their own hands.
In Lustbader's richly imagined saga The Pearl, magic and science clash on an epic scale. As in the Midkemia novels of Raymond Feist, the juxtaposition shows that neither is inherently good or evil. It is the people using magic or science who give them meaning, and Lustbader has created people you will never forget:
Riane, the Dar-Sala-at; Eleana, the woman she loves twice over; Kurgan, the V'ornn usurper who raped Eleana and sired her child; Marethyn Stogggul, Kurgan's defiant sister, an artist who joins the Kundalan resistance; Marethyn's lover, chief trader Sornnn SaTrryn, who secretly helps the resistance as well; and the fabulous Krystren, the Sarakkon woman from the mysterious southern continent, who comes north on a secret mission and will change the lives of everyone she meets. All the while, the evil Sauromicians threaten the world as they seek to use banestones to bind a dragon.
With each new volume, The Pearl has bloomed and ramified like a gorgeous flowering vine. The Mistress of the Pearl is the best yet, and those who have read the previous books will find new sources of excitement and enlightenment, but this is also a great place to begin catching up with the series, as the Pearl shines ever brighter.
Eric Van Lustbader (he dropped his middle name, Van for several years due to a confusion about his last name) was born and raised in Greenwich Village. He is the author of more than twenty-five best-selling novels, including The Ninja, a N.Y. Times bestseller for an astounding 24 weeks, in which he introduced Nicholas Linnear, one of modern fiction's most beloved and enduring heroes. His New York Times bestselling novel, The Testament, was published in September, 2006 and in paperback in August, 2007. It received rave reviews from such notable thriller writers as Nelson DeMille, Steve Berry and Joseph Finder, among others.
His novels have been translated into over twenty languages; his books are best-sellers worldwide and are so popular whole sections of bookstores from Bangkok to Dublin are devoted to them. The Ninja was sold to 20th Century-Fox and the producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown. It is now in pre-prduction.
In 2004, Mr. Lustbader was chosen by the estate of the late Robert Ludlum to continue the Jason Bourne novels. The Bourne Legacy (2005) and The Bourne Betrayal (2007), both instant New York Times bestsellers, garnered rave reviews.
He is also the author of two successful and highly regarded series of fantasy novels, The Sunset Warrior Cycle and The Pearl Saga.
Besides "The Other Side of the Mirror" in the bestselling THRILLER anthology, he has written a number of short stories, screenplays and novellas. Three of the short stories appeared in 1999: "Hush," in Off The Beaten Path: Stories of Place for Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, "Slow Burn," in Murder And Obsession for Delacourt Press, and "An Exultation of Termagants" in the millennial supernatural mega-collection 999 for Avon Books. A short novel, Art Kills, was published by Carroll & Graf in December, 2001.
Mr. Lustbader is a graduate of Columbia College, with a degree in Sociology. Before turning to writing full time, he enjoyed highly successful careers in the New York City public school system, where he holds licenses in both elementary and early childhood education, and in the music business, where he worked for Elektra Records and CBS Records, among other companies. He was the first writer in the US to write about Elton John, and to predict his success. As a consequence, he and Elton and Bernie Taupin, Elton's lyricist, became friends. Writing in Cash Box Magazine, he also predicted the successes of such bands as Santana, Roxy Music, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, David Bowie, and The Who, among others.
In his spare time, Mr. Lustbader serves on the Board of Trustees, the Executive Committee, and is Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee of the City & Country School in Greenwich Village. He also tends his prized collection of Japanese maples and beech trees (which have been written up in The New York Times and Martha Stewart's Living). He is a Second-Level Reiki master. He and his wife, the author Victoria Lustbader, reside in New York City and Long Island.