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Threshold by Sara Douglass

Review by Tree 2004-08-30

I greedily read this 448 page hardback (now out in paperback) in a record (for me) three days. I was instantly drawn into the world of the heroine, Tirzah, a skilled glass artist of a northern land.

Through a misfortune, Tirzah and her father were required to travel to an ancient, Egypt-like desert world, dominated by a race of inscrutable magi. The land was under the mysterious and questionable power of a huge, nearly completed glass pyramid.

Throughout much of the first half of the book I labored under questing thoughts: "Considering the horrible and ominous hints given, what will happen when the pyramid is finished?" Yikes!

I did learn the answers, and much more. Quite a lot of the book centers around certain magical skills possessed by Tirzah and others involved in glassmaking. There are several outstanding characters to enjoy. In fact, I would even say that the author has a special interest in, and gift for, character development. The story is also highly romantic, even sensual at times, but never graphic. There is violence in the book, so I would not recommend it to a child.

This is the most enjoyable fantasy book I have read in a long time. I would credit this to the following factors:

1. Threshold, despite its Egypt-like setting, showed me an original, fascinating world with some new concepts.
2. The built in suspense kept me turning those pages.
3. The plot is character driven.
4. The book is chock-full of human warmth and emotion (an absolute requirement for me).

I recently picked up another Sara Douglass book, the first of a trilogy. My hope is that Threshold was not just a fluke for me, and that I will discover more treasures from her. Out of curiosity, I researched the author a little, and learned that she is a best selling writer who lives in Australia. She has an interesting website, with pictures of the town she lives in, and descriptions of the several imaginary worlds she has created.

Sara Douglass! Yay! At last, I may have found a new (to me) author to be enriched by. My wish is that everyone might also be so fortunate.


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