Atlan, the Fates, & Pandemic Wars

First, what am I reading?

I have just finished Jane Gaskell’s Atlan, Book 3 of the Atlan quintet, a fantasy cult classic series that is a feminist answer to Game of Thrones. Gaskell skillfully employs tropes from myths, fairy tales, Shakespearean comedy, lyric poetry, and even “The Perils of Pauline.”  The plot elements are jumbled up to delightful effect. 

Written in the form of an engaging diary, this lively series delineates the spellbinding adventures of Cija, whom we first meet as a haughty princess in a tower who has been brought up to believe she is a goddess and that men are extinct.  She is delighted to learn men exist, but is surprised to be taken hostage by a blue scaly man, General Zerd, whose army has invaded her mother’s country.  She attempts in vain to assassinate Zerd, dresses up as a boy to evade him, has a reluctant affair with an attractive man who unfortunately turns out to be her half-brother, and attempts to save Atlan, a Paradisiacal continent that all the armies of her world want to occupy.  Yes, there are referecnes to Atlantis.   And there’s more, always more action!

In Atlan (Book 3), a more mature Cija finds herself the empress of Atlan, stormily married to Zerd, who has conquered the beautiful continent and become emperor.   When another war starts, he packs her off with her baby and some servants, but they are attacked en routes by wolves (who become magical allies) and then enemy soldiers.   Cija escapes to an inn where she becomes a scullery maid. And the inn is home to some rough characters:   bandits, buskers, and beggars  spend the winter there, until the thaw, when they go back to their prosperous business. So many adventures…I can’t recount them all…but it is the tone of Cija’s observant writing, witty, moody, and sometimes poetic, that keeps us going. 

PANDEMIC HORROR  I have always known that the Three Fates are not nice women, but I never imagined that they would cut the  life thread of  a security guard at a Dollar Store for saying masks must be worn in the store.  (He was shot to death.) That was in Michigan, one of the most beautiful states i have ever visited.

“Michigan seems like a dream to me now…”

What a gorgeous state, forests, lakes, islands…

What a pity....

“The Three Fates,” by Giorgio Ghisi (1520-82)