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Darkness of the Light by Peter David
Review by Harriet Klausner
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765311733
Date: 12 June 2007 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

During the Third Wave, the twelve races, collectively known as the Banished defeated the humans or "morts" to the point of extinction. Banished from the Elserealms, the twelve races are watched by the Overseers and his helpers, The Travelers to make sure they don't try to get back to their own realm. The twelve races consist of beings who were sent to earth in two other waves and bcame the creatures of myth and legend.

The only time the Banished were not fighting each other is when they fought the morts but now each race vies for supremacy. Within each species traitors abound, as some want to change the status quo. The Firedraques try to impose order and implement treaties which the co-signers constantly break. Jepp, a human woman fell in with a band of Bottom Feeders, beings who steal valuables from the dead on the battlefield. Like many other beings they are looking for the Orb of Trinity, a weapon that humans created, now in the possession of the Trulls, beings who stay neutral and sell weapons to all sides. Jepp becomes a person of interest by the real powers on the planet and she doesn't know why.

This apocalyptic thriller is totally fascinating as the various species have their own agendas like Mandraques (mandrakes) who constantly fight within their own race because they want their own clan to be the power in charge of the other clans. Bottom Feeders are looked upon with distaste and revulsion by the other eleven races who think of them as little more as scavengers. The Pipi (vampires) are looked upon as vermin and the second in command of the Oculars (Cyclops) are in collusion with the Pipi. The Sirene queen of the Merk drug the Markeen and has a plan to test the vulnerability of The Travelers because she believes the Sirenes (mer-people) should be the leading power since 70% of the world consists of water which they control.

There is no one plot or character that is dominant. There are several different races and characters within that race that run subplots concurrently. A Traveller asks the leader of the Firedraques to find out why a hotstar, an energy source brought from the Elserealms has died. Indications are that this will be a major plot in the next book in the series. There are many characters who are admirable like Karsen, a fawn who fell for Jepp despite the fact she is a mort. He defends her to his mother who used to dominate him until Jepp gives him the courage to stand up to her.

There is more racism between species than there was between the races when humans controlled the earth, now called The Damned World. None of the races want to be there but most of them have accepted their lot and play power games that would put Machiavelli to shame. Humanity's passing has changed the landscape of the earth but the new species different have different living requirements and remake the planet to suit their needs.

Peter David has created a work that will be thoroughly enjoyed by readers who like a deep complex and multi-layered science fiction saga. Some races are mentioned but not seen in The Darkness of the Light like the phey (fae). Some characters like the Sirene queen is behind the drugging of the Markene, who she believes are inferior to the Merk and she intends to use them and her husband to rise in power. This is definitely a character and species driven tale where not each player is what they seem and each species is very different than how they are portrayed in human mythos and legends.

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