When Ataga is accidentally swept back in time one thousand years, he finds his planet, Dynia, to be far different from the reality that he left. His ancestors are enslaved by a ruthless, marauding race of warriors, the Salti. He uses his wits, his knowledge, and his expertise in flying to lead his people, the Loxu, in the insurrection against their masters. His quest leads to the legend of the Fire Erzu.
For millennia, the erzu soared gracefully on the winds above the summit of Qi’ Lam in the Lamana Moga.The aerial prowess of this magnificent, winged creature always inspired the Loxu, who lived in these rugged mountains since the dawn of their race.They created a technologically advanced civilization that existed in harmony with their world, Dynia, through the use of renewable resources.After building habitats on two inner planets and two moons in their solar system, they were on the verge of unlocking the mysteries of faster-than-light travel to the stars in just one thousand revolutions of their primary star, Sirla, since they launched their first aircraft into the skies.
Ataga Surakorta, was a gifted and accomplished pilot who was undertaking graduate studies in aeronautical engineering at the university in Shahwar, the largest city of the Loxu.Through unforeseen circumstances, he was transported back in time with only the clothes on his back, his timepiece, and his wits to sustain him.In the world that he entered, the ancient Loxu had been long enslaved by a powerful race of marauding warriors, the Salti.
He gained the confidence of his ancestors and rallied them to rise up against their Salti masters.He combined the application of modern technologies with the available resources.The reality that he helped to create profoundly impacted the lives of all Loxu for the rest of time.He fostered the rapid development of Loxu knowledge and originated the legend of the Fire Erzu of Qi’ Lam.
At an altitude of five hundred millimashens, he could see who the yimalks were carrying. Those with two riders each had one Loxu maiden and one Salti. The rider on point was a Salti. The rider in the rear was a Loxu maiden. He knew at once that these were Salti who had fled from Olgeti. They had taken Loxu maidens as hostages. He surmised that the Salti in the lead could have been Lord Magalbik himself, because who else would have had an alternate egress from the castle.
This was not at all acceptable. Lesogor may be able to take out the Salti, but the Loxu hostages would complicate the situation. If he eliminated the Salti chief with the tulq, the other Salti would surrender, since they would not fight without a leader. That was what he must do. He thought for a moment that all of that training with the tulq would now be put to the test.
He checked on the wind and found that it was blowing lightly from the south. He began to set up his approach for the high speed low pass. He continued his descent as he crossed the road from the north. He turned left crosswind to place the glider in the light of Sirla. As he passed back over the road on his downwind leg, he was almost certain that the Loxu rider on the yimalk in the back of the column was Evtara. This discovery heightened his resolve to terminate the Salti at the head of the column.
As he turned onto his base leg, no one on the ground had yet detected his presence. After he turned onto the final approach, he cranked down the tulq and prepared to start his run. Just before diving, he issued two short bursts followed by a long blast on the erzu call.
As soon as the sound of the erzu came from the morning sky, Evtara looked up in its direction. She saw her Ataga in the kima bearing down on the column. Her heart leapt at the sight of him in the glider. The one Loxu on Dynia, who she held most dear, was about to attack the heinous Salti who had kidnapped her and her friends. It was all she could do to keep her composure.
In the myrior before the attack, Evtara taunted Lord Magalbik in perfect, un-accented Salti, “Well Magalbik, it seems that the Fire Erzu was not satisfied with destroying Olgeti. He has now come for you.” She followed her outburst with a mocking, withering, sinister laugh that cut the Salti leader to the bone. It was almost unbelievable that such a wicked laugh could have come from someone so beautiful and fair. The Salti and the other Loxu maidens stared at her in disbelief.
The Fire Erzu of Qi' Lam
As an avid reader of Political, Medical and Military Thrillers, The Fire Erzu of Qi' Lam was my first read of a Science Fiction novel in many years. I was enthralled, entertained and thoroughly impressed.
In the beginning, it took a little time for me to equate the terminology of distances and time with units of which I am familiar (I would suggest to readers they may wish to review the 'Glossary' at the end of the novel prior to reading; I did not locate this until afterwards). Once the terms had been repeated several times I was able to begin to associate them with known measures.
The story itself is an intriguing premise of a young Loxu travelling into history, and helping his ancestors fulfill the very history he learned of as a child. He introduces them to new technologies for use in their daily lives and ultimately introduces them to a technology that will help free them from their enslavers ... Flight! It is the introduction of non-powered flight that will ultimately change their very existence, freeing them from their bonds both to their masters and to their 'earth'.
The author spent time throughout the novel describing both the construction and operation of the Kima (glider). It is apparent that the author himself has tremendous experience with the intricacies of flight, both powered and non-powered. I myself have flown in commercial aircraft as well as small aircraft; additionally I have gone skydiving, however after reading the author's descriptions of finding 'thermal lift' and 'riding the currents', it makes me want to experience glider flight for myself. The descriptions of the use of thermals to be able to remain aloft for hours and to travel great distances, in a craft with no means of self power was enlightening (I was unaware that gliders could remain aloft for so long).
The idea of the Loxu being able to see into the infra-red spectrum, and therefore see the thermals, was an interesting twist (I am sure the author, as an avid glider pilot, truly wishes he possessed this extraordinary ability). As the story progresses, young Ataga brings ever new inventions and technology to the ancient Loxu. The Loxu, in turn, begin to think of Ataga as the 'Fire Erzu' described in their scriptures as the liberator of the Loxu from their Salti masters. Ataga is conflicted; he feels he cannot tell the ancient Loxu the truth of where he comes from, yet, by not explaining his origins, they begin to view him as a prophet.
I do not wish to give away more of the story; it unfolds well and reads smoothly. I would highly recommend The Fire Erzu of Qi' Lam to those who enjoy science fiction, to those who enjoy the wonders of flight and to all who simply enjoy a good escape from the day to day with an uplifting story of one groups struggle for freedom.
How refreshing it is to learn of a world without fossil fuels! The Loxu had no choice but to build their civilization around renewable resources. With their balanced view of their home, I imagine that their presence did not contribute unduly to the global warming of Dynia. I thought that it was a hoot that they started each day...rotation...with kuocha. Apparently, there is room for good coffee in utopia. I hope that Mr. Nadeau keeps up the fun in future volumes.
Reviewed by John Grantham
I will never think of a salamander the same way again. I love to fish but I never imagined angling on another planet. Why not? I loved all of the creatures that Mr. Nadeau dreamt up. We could really use yimalks on the mountain trails that I usually hike on foot or a mule's back. It was a great job for a first-time author. I hope that we see more of his work in the future.