Suldrun's Garden [Lyonesse Book 1]
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by Jack Vance
Description: A monument of fantastic literature to stand beside such classics as Dune and The Lord of the Rings, Lyonesse evokes the Elder Isles, a land of pre-Arthurian myth now lost beneath the Atlantic, where powerful sorcerers, aloof faeries, stalwart champions, and nobles eccentric, magnanimous, and cruel pursue intrigue among their separate worlds. In this first book of the trilogy, Suldrun's Garden, Prince Aillas of Troicinet is betrayed on his first diplomatic voyage and cast into the sea. Before he redeems his birthright, he must pass the breadth of Hybras Isle as prisoner, vagabond, and slave, an acquaintance of faeries, wizards, and errant knights, and lover to a sad and beautiful girl whose fate sets his undying hatred for her tyrannical father--Casmir, King of Lyonesse. This eBook comprises the definitive text of Lyonesse: Suldrun's Garden, meticulously re-edited by the Vance Integral Edition project in close collaboration with the author.
eBook Publisher: Electricstory.com, 1983
eBookwise Release Date: June 2002
126 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [712 KB]
Reading time: 442-620 min.
The Elder Isles and its peoples: a brief survey, which, while not altogether tedious, may be neglected by the reader impatient with facts.
The Elder Isles, now sunk beneath the Atlantic, in olden times were located across the Cantabrian Gulf (now the Bay of Biscay) from Old Gaul.
Christian chroniclers have little to say regarding the Elder Isles. Gildas and Nennius both make references to Hybras, though Bede is silent. Geoffrey of Monmouth alludes both to Lyonesse and Avallon, and perhaps other places and events which can less certainly be identified. Chrétien of Troyes rhapsodizes upon Ys and its pleasures; and Ys is also the frequent locale of early Armorican folk-tales. Irish references are numerous but confusing and contradictory.[See Glossary III.] St. Bresabius of Cardiff propounds a rather fanciful list of the Kings of Lyonesse; St. Columba inveighs against the 'heretics, witches, idolators and Druids' of the island he calls 'Hy Brasill', the medieval term for 'Hybras'. Otherwise the record is quiet.
Greeks and Phoenicians traded with the Elder Isles. Romans visited Hybras and many settled there, leaving behind aqueducts, roads, villas and temples. In the waning days of the Empire Christian dignitaries landed at Avallon amid vast pomp and panoply. They established bishoprics, appointed appropriate officials and spent good Roman gold to build their basilicas, none of which prospered. The bishops strove mightily against the olden gods, halflings and magicians alike, but few dared enter the Forest of Tantrevalles. Aspergillums, thuribles and curses proved futile against such as Dankvin the giant, Taudry the Weasoning, the fairies[See Glossary I.] of Pithpenny Shee. Dozens of missionaries, exalted through faith, paid terrible prices for their zeal. Saint Elric marched barefoot to Smoorish Rock where he intended to subdue the ogre Magre and bring him to the Faith. According to subsequent tale-tellers, Saint Elric arrived at noon and Magre politely agreed to hear his declaration. Elric spoke a mighty sermon, while Magre started the fire in his pit. Elric expounded, recited Scripture and sang the glories of the Faith. When he came to an end and declared his final 'Hallelujah!', Magre gave him a stoup of ale to ease his throat. Sharpening a knife he complimented Elric upon the fervor of his rhetoric. Then he smote off Elric's head, cut, drew, spitted, cooked and devoured the sanctified morsel with a garnish of leeks and cabbages. Saint Uldine attempted the baptism of a troll in the waters of Black Meira Tarn. She was indefatigable; he raped her four times during her efforts, until at last she despaired. In due course she gave birth to four imps. The first of these, Ignaldus, became father to the eery knight Sir Sacrontine who could not sleep of nights until he had killed a Christian. Saint Uldine's other children were Drathe, Alleia and Bazille.[The deeds of the four have been chronicled in a rare volume, Saint Uldine's Children.] In Godelia Druids never paused in the worship of Lug the Sun, Matrona the Moon, Adonis the Beautiful, Kernuun the Stag, Mokous the Boar, Kai the Dark, Sheah the Graceful, and innumerable local half-gods.
During this period Olam Magnus of Lyonesse, aided by Persilian, his so-called 'Magic Mirror', brought all the Elder Isles (excepting Skaghane and Godelia) under his rule. Styling himself Olam I, he enjoyed a long and prosperous reign and was succeeded by Rordec I, Olam II, then, briefly, by the 'Galician Cuckoos', Quarnitz I and Niffith I. Then Fafhion Long-nose reasserted the old blood line. He sired Olam III, who moved his throne Evandig and that great table known as Cairbra an Meadhan, the 'Board of Notables',[The Round Table of King Arthur was later inspired by the Cairbra an Meadhan.The Round Table of King Arthur was later inspired by the Cairbra an Meadhan.] from Lyonesse Town to Avallon in the Duchy of Dahaut. When Olam III's grandson Uther II fled to Britain (there to sire Uther Pendragon, father of Arthur, King of Cornwall), the land fragmented to become ten kingdoms: Dahaut, Lyonesse, North Ulfland, South Ulfland, Godelia, Blaloc, Caduz, Pomperol, Dascinet and Troicinet.
The new kings found many pretexts for contention, and the Elder Isles entered a time of trouble. North and South Ulfland, exposed to the Ska,[See Glossary II.] became lawless wastes, occupied by robber knights and dire beasts. Only the Vale Evander, guarded to the east by the castle Tintzin Fyral and to the west by the city Ys, remained a realm of tranquility.
King Audry I of Dahaut at last took a fateful step. He declared that since he sat on the throne Evandig, he must be acknowledged King of the Elder Isles.
King Phristan of Lyonesse at once challenged him. Audry assembled a great army and marched down Icnield Way through Pomperol and into Lyonesse. King Phristan led his army north. At the Battle of Orm Hill the armies fought for two days and finally separated in mutual exhaustion. Both Phristan and Audry died in combat and both armies retired. Audry II failed to press his father's claim; effectively Phristan had won the battle.
Twenty years pass. The Ska have made serious inroads into North Ulfland and have taken to themselves a section known as the North Foreshore. King Gax, old, half-blind and helpless has gone into hiding. The Ska do not even trouble to search for him. The king of South Ulfland is Oriante, who resides at Castle Sfan Sfeg near the town Oäldes. His single son, Prince Quilcy, is feeble-minded and spends his days playing with fanciful dolls and doll-houses. Audry II is King of Dahaut and Casmir is King of Lyonesse, and both intend to become King of the Elder Isles and sit rightfully on the throne Evandig.