Book Reviews

Book Review- Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard by Lawrence Schoen

I purchased a copy of this book for my own enjoyment.


Welcome to the richly complex world of Barsk, home to the Fant. It is a lush world of jungle archipelagos, where the arboreal inhabitants live high above the shadowed forest floor. The Fant, divided into the slightly different Lox and Eleph, live in a harmonious balance with nature. Once elderly, each Fant receives a special vision of a place to go, a final resting place.


There are those few, among the Fant, and among other races, who can Speak with the dead, through special training and use of koph. Jorl is one such Speaker, special even among this rare group for the honour of bearing an Aleph. When Jorl begins having difficulty summoning the dead, he fears an ancient prophecy is coming into play, and sets out to solve the mystery of the Silence. His journey will take him worlds away, and worlds within, opening unfathomable possibility.


Following Jorl on a different path is Pizlo, a young albino Fant who lives wild, shunned by all but his mother, and Jorl. Pizlo has a special roll to play in the events to come, for he is another special Fant, burdened and gifted with visions, and an ability to commune with nature. Each will suffer greatly on their paths, and emerge from the forge tempered stronger than before, but will they be strong enough?


In Barsk, Schoen has opened the door to a world quite unlike most. Barsk is inhabited by the Fant, a race of beings who resemble anthropomorphised elephants. They are just one of a multitude of ‘raised mammals’ living on far flung worlds. Here Schoen has shone a light on our own penchant for discrimination. In a place where every race is fundamentally different, the Fant are despised for having no fur, as all the rest of the species do. (I do wonder what these racist beings would make of meeting a raised mammoth or mastodon?) Threaded through are the echoes of our past, where might makes right. The Fant have chosen to be less technologically dependent, and have chosen isolation from the rest of the galaxy. When the Alliance decides they want the secrets Barsk harbours, they break the pact and come to take by terrible force that which they seek.


Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard is a richly woven tapestry of life and death, love and hate, sacrifice and greed, and the timeless beats between.. One part Planet of the Apes, one part Avatar, yet wholly original, this story is immersive; it will pull you in, and keep you reading long past your bedtime! I eagerly await the next in the series.

????? Highly recommended. Can’t recommend enough. You need this book in your life.

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