The Darkling Wind (Inquestor, #4) - S.P. Somtow Overall series rating: 2.5 stars

I remember reading The Light on the Sound and The Throne of Madness as a teen; I know I hadn’t read Utopia Hunters before now; and I think I read The Darkling Wind back in the day. I know I owned a copy.

What drew me to the novels then were the premise and that Sucharitkul had created not just one but two languages (extensively quoted) and a script for them. The premise is suitably operatic – The Inquestors have ruled the Dispersal of Man for 20 millennia from Uran s’Varek, the dyson sphere surrounding the black hole at the center of the galaxy and source of the Inquestors’ overwhelming power. They subscribe to a religion that believes Man is fundamentally sinful and any attempt to better humanity’s condition (the heresy of utopianism) must be crushed. The Inquestor Davaryush comes to the world of Shtoma to find a real utopia sustained by the system’s sentient sun, Udara. He becomes The Heretic but realizes he is too corrupted by the Inquest to bring it down so he searches for an innocent whom he can raise to Inquestorhood and who will bring its tyranny to an end. He finds one in the boy Kelver.

As in The Shattered Horse, Sucharitkul plays with myths and the end of the Age of Heroes, and, as a consequence, the protagonists of the first two books are distant and difficult to relate to – they are the embodiments of mythical archetypes. In The Utopia Hunters and The Darkling Wind we have human-size protagonists and (finally) the pace begins to pick up. Both factors that prompted me to give these two 3 stars instead of 2.

I found the author’s prose a bit hard to wade through and he has no gift for dialog but I had a qualified enjoyment reading the books. I still love the premise and scope of the Dispersal of Man and I still love the languages he created but I can’t recommend this to my GR friends unless they’re already Sucharitkul (aka S.P. Somtow) fans.