Hiero's Journey - 8. The rest of the series


The follow-up book, The Unforsaken Hiero, starts by following Hiero's own personal exploits, but becomes increasingly organisationally focused, as the war between the Kandan Confederacy and the Unclean hots up. Would this development interest you or do you prefer individual sagas? Sterling Lanier intended to write this as a trilogy, but died in 2007 at age 80, over 20 years after The Unforsaken Hiero was published. One can only speculate why he never fulfilled his intention.
What kind of storyline would you like to have seen in a final volume?


  • 1

    I purchased the follow-up volume when I picked up the first, so I'm willing to give it a go sometime.

    If it were me writing, I suppose I'd either continue to follow Hiero, maybe taking him further inside the Unclean (where he can really be outside of his environment) and try to give the Unclean more interesting dimensions.

    Another, maybe more interesting, tactic might be to start again in Kanda with a successor to Hiero who heads off to try and find out what happened to the missing priest. Then, in the third volume, cover the return journey of one or both of those.

  • 2

    I'm not that bothered by the sequel, especially as the reviews for it aren't as good as this one.

    If this is following the Campbellian monomyth, the next stage in Hiero's journey is the rebirth and apotheosis. That could easily be where Hiero comes to understand much more of the Unclean, their powers, and the technology that supports them. He would then use those new powers to overcome various challenges and finally come back to Metz a changed, and much more powerful, man. He'd use the combination of the Eleveners' and the Unclean's powers to create a new, much more powerful, Metz which could bring civilisation to Kanda and the lands around.

  • 1

    Interesting analysis, thanks.

  • 1
    I'm tempted to read the sequel. It sounds like there's more in the way of world building and fantasy politics. And reading more about the societies sounds more interesting to me than more about the lives of the characters.

    That said, this book was fun because of the gonzo adventure element, and it would be a shame to lose that. I don't know if I want it without that element if it's in the same style.
  • 2
    edited May 2019

    I don't know. I have to fight my base instinct to make things more nuanced just to read this book, which makes it a bit of a strain. I don't think it would be a much fun if it were more nuanced, though, not unless it were an entirely different book, and far, far, far more nuanced. Then it would be interesting in a very different way.

    This, by the way, is what I was afraid of... joining the conversation after everyone else left. A convesation of one... :wink:

  • 2

    I've just finished the sequel, The Unforsaken Hiero. I decided to read a bunch of book-club follow-ups that have been sitting on my shelf for a while. Before this I read Axis and Vortex, the two remaining books in the Spin trilogy (satisfying reads, both, though neither quite as good as the first). Later, I plan to give the Lyonesse trilogy a finish, and maybe get back into the Flat Earth series by Tanith Lee.

    The Unforsaken Hiero opens shortly after the end of the first book. Aldo decides to head north with Gorm, as he has things to discuss with the Abbott. He advises Hiero to continue southward in seek of tech. Aldo takes the computer manuals with him.

    Then we skip ahead in time. Hiero, Luchare, and Klootz are now in Dal'wah where they meed Luchare's father, who seems pleased enough with Hiero as a son-in-law. However, things are afoot, and in short order Hiero finds himself kidnapped and dumped in the wilderness with next to nothing. He was to be killed, but survived when his captors were ambushed by beasties. Hiero finds he is without his mental powers, having been robbed of them by an Unclean poison. He heads off to the SW, first trying to find food, water, and shelter. When he's able to ensure he can survive, he starts walking. Then his Dal'wah cavalry mount shows up out of the blue (a 'hopper' - a big kangaroo, basically) with a pack of survival essentials from Luchare, who had sent the beast to find him.

    The end up heading south, fighting off more beasts, until the meet a giant, intelligent, psychic slug, who somehow drew them to the south. The slug eats Hiero's mount (whom he considered a friend), but nevertheless they form a friendship. The slug forms 'tendrils' that can enter Hiero's mind and restores some of his powers, but not his psychic blast.

    Hiero then heads west and encounters a human village. Though he needs shelter, they are unfriendly and don't let him in. He spends the night in a tree outside the village and finds that it's beset by 'ghosts' which try to hunt him by luring him into the open. After a standoff with the ghosts, a mutual respect forms and they, too, becomes friends. The ghosts turn out to be, rather, a cat-people, bioengineered by the unclean, but escaped. These cat-people can move very fast - so fast they seem like ghosts, and also have very strong mental powers. The form an alliance with Hiero based on their mutual hatred of the unclean, and 4 of the cat people decide to follow Hiero. He now heads north.

    Meanwhile, via vignettes, we learn that Luchare is leading the loyal forces of Dal'wah against her rebel cousin. And Klootz has left Dal'wah on his own and is travelling through jungle.

    Hiero and the cat people eventually make it north to Neeyana on the inland sea, where they participate in a great battle. The forces of the Metz have mobilized and attacked the Unclean based in Neeyana. They don't take the city, but basically sack or even raze it. Hiero and his cat buddies head north in a ship. We meet Aldo and the cat people again. More battles follow.

    After the battle for the inland sea is won, Hiero decides to form a team of crack rangers to head north and east of Metz and Otwah lands, where he thinks the Unclean are building. Next, rather inexplicably, we find him to the south Metz territory, with his 'magnificent seven' team (which consists of two other Metz priests - one with a soul as great as Hiero's mind - four cat-buddies, and two supreme-woodsmen of the Metz with a chip on their shoulders - twin brothers venging after the Unclean.

    Hiero's instinct led him here, and now they wait. Eventually, they meet two giant 'were-bears' and fight them. This is where, at long last, Klootz and Gorm re-appear to form part of the posse.

    In the last chapter, there's finally one more battle with the Unclean, this one I presume more to the north. They are back with the army. They win the battle. Many praises heaped upon Hiero. Finally, he's reminded of Luchare, and he goes 'Oh yeah... Luchare. (Kind of forgot about her, didn't you, Hiero).

    In the epilogue, we see Luchare again, now on the run from her city, but watching it burn on the horizon, she's with two guards from her palace, and all are weary and hunted. It's just a brief glimpse, but obviously sets us up for the final (and unwritten) novel.

    In spite of my (glib?) summary, I rather enjoyed the read - more than I did the first novel. It's not a better story, but I just somehow found the reading a breeze. Maybe the writing's better. There are a lot of battles and encounters with new beasts and races. I think what makes it easier to read is that the novel cuts out a lot of the empty overland travel the the first had, so it's a little more direct in telling the story. Hiero really comes across as a GMPC in this novel, though, and eveyone's always telling him how great he is. He probably placed too many demands on Lanier for his appearance in the third novel, which is why it was never written.

  • 0

    Cool, thanks for the writeup, @Apocryphal

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