Das Schwert des Geistes (Band 3 der Roman-Trilogie: Der Fürst von morgen) John Christopher

ISBN: 9783473388820



Das Schwert des Geistes (Band 3 der Roman-Trilogie: Der Fürst von morgen)  by  John Christopher

Das Schwert des Geistes (Band 3 der Roman-Trilogie: Der Fürst von morgen) by John Christopher
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The last volume of John Christophers science-fantasy trilogy pays off, with interest, the narrative promise of the first two books. Luke Perry begins THE SWORD OF THE SPIRITS at the summit of his ambitions, enthroned as Prince of Winchester and betrothed to Blodwen, the most beautiful woman in the known world.

Christopher quickly turns this fairy-tale beginning into a dark narrative of revolution, retribution, and self-destruction. Luke provides a premonition of the coming revolution by breaking the rules of war in order to subdue a rebellious city and consolidate his rule.

He then becomes the victim of revolutionary forces when Blodwen comes to Winchester and demonstrates that, unlike other “civilized” women, she has a mind and a heart of her own- when Luke imprisons Blodwen for thwarting his will, his own captains overthrow and banish him. Cast out into a hostile world but inflamed with hatred, Luke enlists the technical support of his patrons, the Seers, and the military support of his erstwhile father-in-law-to-be, King Cymru of Klan Gothlen.

With their aid he assembles a high-tech army to retake the city he has lost. What follows is essentially a 20th-century updating of the final battle scene from A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHURS COURT. In the end, though, Lukes plans to recover his patrimony and wreak vengeance on his “betrayers” do not go quite as he expected.One of the unusual features of this trilogy is the repugnant nature of its viewpoint character, Luke. The young prince has a great deal of courage and tactical cunning, but otherwise he is a thuggish, narcissistic lout, quick to anger, contemptuous of knowledge except when it helps him kill people, and wedded to a regressive social system.

In this novel, Christopher delicately points out that Lukes opponents and foils are actually the most noble and progressive people in their society. Blodwen “betrays” Luke because she falls in love with someone else and because she was never interested in marrying Prince Lout in the first place – she was betrothed to him as a prize for bravery in volume 2. The captains rebel because Luke has become a tyrant and a political liability, and in doing so they eliminate the monarchy and replace it with a (slightly) more egalitarian order. A progressive young prince, Eric of Oxford, who wanted to become Lukes friend and ally instead flees from him in disgust when he sees the bloody work Luke has done on his way back to the throne.

Lukes old friend Martin quits his allegiance to the Seers, becomes a Christian, and organizes a surprising defense of Winchester because he believes there may be more important things than the Seers scientific and technological revival (which has, after all, done little more at this point than give Luke machine guns). As for Luke himself: after he breaks with his friends, leaves his home, and becomes the Seers destroying angel, there is nothing left of him. The forces he has helped to unleash will so profoundly change society that there will be no place in it for a violent barbarian princeling.

As a teenager I found the conclusion of SWORD OF THE SPIRITS quite sad, but as an older reader I can appreciate Christophers subtler point: in the end, the person who loses the most turns out to have been the bad guy all along.

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