Read Recently — Wild Kingdom

Kingdom Coming: the rise of Christian Nationalism by Michelle Goldberg

Goldberg’s title is self-explanatory: she examines the rise of right-wing Christian nationalism in the United States. She not only documents the problems, she also offers suggestions for countering them, including sensible suggestions for political action on the part of Freethinkers. Caveat: I may not know enough about how American politics works to be able to tell you that these are sensible suggestions; they just seem sensible to me.

Highly recommended.


Last of the Wilds by Trudi Canavan

When I discussed Priestess of the White, Canavan’s last book on this series, I said I was disappointed in it, after enjoying her earlier Black Magician Trilogy. That disappointment continued as I began this one, though there were signs of improvement. For instance, the book begins as, in the wake of the battle that ended the first book the losing Southerners make their slow way back home through hostile territory. And they aren’t the faceless evil we were exposed to in the first book; they’re people.

Meanwhile, Auraya continues with her duties as one of the White, trying to cement new alliances with other races in the North as well as with the Dreamweavers, whose healing training she wishes the priesthood to learn, ensuring that more lives will be saved and the Dreamweaver movement, antithetical to the Gods as it is, will eventually die out. Her old friend and sometime lover, the Dreamweaver known as Leiard, is wandering around in the wilderness, trying to work out if he is actually Mirar, the centuries-dead leader of the Dreamweaver movement somehow come back to life or if he is Leiard, who after a long life including many telepathic exchanges with other Dreamweavers, has accumulated enough of Mirar’s memories that he just thinks he’s Mirar. The ancient, immortal sorceress Emerahl thinks he’s Mirar, and she knew Mirar back in the day. Meanwhile, Princess Imi of the water-dwelling sea people, is looking for a present for her father, the King. This quest is going to get her into more trouble than she can handle. And Auraya begins having troubling dreams . . .

More of the same, basically. But then, about halfway through the book, things changed. The Gods do something I wasn’t expecting, and Auraya’s reaction, while in character, was also not what I was expecting. In fact, the ending was a total suprise, and one that convinced me I wanted to pick up the third volume, when it comes out. But I don’t know if halfway through the second volume of a trilogy is soon enough to turn interesting for most readers.

Very cautiously recommended.

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