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On a dodecahedral world in thrall to the tyrannical, war-obsessed Hrag dynasty, no one could stop the Bloodlord from sending troops to Florengia, invading its major cities, and offering them a choice between strict colonial rule or immediate and total destruction. When the doge of Celebre was faced with this ultimatum, he gave his children up as hostages so that the rest o On a dodecahedral world in thrall to the tyrannical, war-obsessed Hrag dynasty, no one could stop the Bloodlord from sending troops to Florengia, invading its major cities, and offering them a choice between strict colonial rule or immediate and total destruction. When the doge of Celebre was faced with this ultimatum, he gave his children up as hostages so that the rest of Celebre might live. Thus the four young Florengians were taken back over the Edge and scattered across the Vigaelian face.   Fifteen years later, when Celebre suddenly takes on crucial political significance, one of the siblings must return home to serve as Celebre's puppet ruler and the others must be eliminated so that there are no rival claimants to the throne. It's going to be tough enough finding each other, let alone deciding whether enough kinship remains after fifteen years apart that the siblings care enough to help each other out of their respective predicaments. If they're feeling particularly altruistic, the Celebres might even take on the bonus round: trying to save Dodec from the culture of death and war imposed on it by its evil warlords.   One thing's for certain: the Celebre children are going to have a lot of adjusting to do . .   Children of Chaos is the start of a stirring, politically-charged quest duology by acclaimed fantasy author Dave Duncan.


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On a dodecahedral world in thrall to the tyrannical, war-obsessed Hrag dynasty, no one could stop the Bloodlord from sending troops to Florengia, invading its major cities, and offering them a choice between strict colonial rule or immediate and total destruction. When the doge of Celebre was faced with this ultimatum, he gave his children up as hostages so that the rest o On a dodecahedral world in thrall to the tyrannical, war-obsessed Hrag dynasty, no one could stop the Bloodlord from sending troops to Florengia, invading its major cities, and offering them a choice between strict colonial rule or immediate and total destruction. When the doge of Celebre was faced with this ultimatum, he gave his children up as hostages so that the rest of Celebre might live. Thus the four young Florengians were taken back over the Edge and scattered across the Vigaelian face.   Fifteen years later, when Celebre suddenly takes on crucial political significance, one of the siblings must return home to serve as Celebre's puppet ruler and the others must be eliminated so that there are no rival claimants to the throne. It's going to be tough enough finding each other, let alone deciding whether enough kinship remains after fifteen years apart that the siblings care enough to help each other out of their respective predicaments. If they're feeling particularly altruistic, the Celebres might even take on the bonus round: trying to save Dodec from the culture of death and war imposed on it by its evil warlords.   One thing's for certain: the Celebre children are going to have a lot of adjusting to do . .   Children of Chaos is the start of a stirring, politically-charged quest duology by acclaimed fantasy author Dave Duncan.

30 review for Children of Chaos

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mary Holland

    The four children of the Doge of Celebre are taken hostage by the warlord Stralg. Each child becomes the devotee of a particular god, who gives certain powers but also extracts a corban, a penalty the devotee must pay. Children of Chaos is the first book of a two-part series, and it's one of Duncan's more elaborate world-building efforts. The planet, or world, of Dodec is a literal dodecahedron and the action takes place on two of the contiguous faces. As the children grow into their powers they The four children of the Doge of Celebre are taken hostage by the warlord Stralg. Each child becomes the devotee of a particular god, who gives certain powers but also extracts a corban, a penalty the devotee must pay. Children of Chaos is the first book of a two-part series, and it's one of Duncan's more elaborate world-building efforts. The planet, or world, of Dodec is a literal dodecahedron and the action takes place on two of the contiguous faces. As the children grow into their powers they become first pawns and then opponents of Stralg and of his sister Saltaja. As elaborate as the world-building is, it takes second place to the intricate plot as Duncan moves his characters unerringly into position to defeat the warlord. The story is continued and completed in the second book, Mother of Lies. If you are looking for a quick mindless fantasy read, don't bother with this. If you are interested in amazing world-building with fully realized characters, read this now. Highly, highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Flanagan

    this was a good book. I enjoyed it immensely except one part near the end where the characters are upping secrets to each other. I found that conversation so dry and false that it took me away from the story instantly and worried me that the rest would be the same, it was almost as if someone added in that scene or edited it wrong. Anyways the irritating part ended quickly and the book went on to be as good as the beginning. Hence, 4 stars instead of 5

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I got this book as a joke because the description sounded so hokey, the names were so goofy, and the cover was so bad, but, surprise! I really liked it. Good solid fantasy, with an involving plot that wasn't too convoluted. I liked the shape changers that gradually lose the ability to change back. And some pluses: no kids hatching out dragons! No mysterious elves! No mighty wizards! No bards running around with lutes! I got this book as a joke because the description sounded so hokey, the names were so goofy, and the cover was so bad, but, surprise! I really liked it. Good solid fantasy, with an involving plot that wasn't too convoluted. I liked the shape changers that gradually lose the ability to change back. And some pluses: no kids hatching out dragons! No mysterious elves! No mighty wizards! No bards running around with lutes!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    DNF at around page 70. I've loved a lot of Dave Duncan's work, and the premise of political hostages and shape-changing conquerors sounded interesting, but after the intro chapter, this one just took too long to take off. I flipped ahead another 50 pages and saw that it looked interesting there, but did I really feel like persevering until then...? Sadly, my book-pile is currently too tall. I might give this one another try later on, but I have too much on my plate now to deal with a slow-starter DNF at around page 70. I've loved a lot of Dave Duncan's work, and the premise of political hostages and shape-changing conquerors sounded interesting, but after the intro chapter, this one just took too long to take off. I flipped ahead another 50 pages and saw that it looked interesting there, but did I really feel like persevering until then...? Sadly, my book-pile is currently too tall. I might give this one another try later on, but I have too much on my plate now to deal with a slow-starter.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Julie Thomas

    Excellent! What a strange world, a dodecohedron. Too bad he only wrote two books in this universe, we never get to know what the other faces are like. This book, the first of a two book series, has a crew of main characters instead of just one. So it takes a while in the beginning to establish who these people are, where they are, and what they are doing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dr Michael A Izard

    Excellent fantasy Yet again Dave Duncan entertains with another ripping yarn, although perhaps slightly more adult concepts than his other series. A good mix of characters that take time to be drawn and interact, I’m looking forward to the next book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul Weimer

    Duncan takes a well worn formula, and adds a few twists and his own deft touch on characters in Children of Chaos, the first of the two Dodec fantasy novels. The medieval fantasy world Dodecians believe they live on a twelve sided world (a note in the novel suggests that the truth will be revealed in the sequel and is more complex than this). This twelve sided fantasy world is looked over by 12 very active Gods (and one Anti-God), and boasts a variety of societies, one on each of the faces of the Duncan takes a well worn formula, and adds a few twists and his own deft touch on characters in Children of Chaos, the first of the two Dodec fantasy novels. The medieval fantasy world Dodecians believe they live on a twelve sided world (a note in the novel suggests that the truth will be revealed in the sequel and is more complex than this). This twelve sided fantasy world is looked over by 12 very active Gods (and one Anti-God), and boasts a variety of societies, one on each of the faces of the world. As the action begins, the Florengian face has been overrun by the warriors from the neighboring Vigelian face, who have united their usually fractious society with the promise of conquest of another face of the world. To ensure the safety of the city of Celebre, four young hostages are taken from the family of the Doge, and brought to the Vigelian face and split apart. Fifteen years later, with varying degrees of knowledge of their origins and heritage, these hostages are coming of age, drawing close to one of the Gods, and slowly discovering each other. In the midst of this and their own predicaments, the tenuous political peace on the Vigelian face brought by the promise of outside conquest is breaking down. It seems that the Celebres are destined to live in interesting times. Thus is the story of Bernard, Orland, and Frena, mixed up with their relationships with their Gods, peers and each other unfolds. Duncan once again shows that he understands characters (and even female characters) very well. The characters are believable, sympathetic, and none of them are false one-note cardboard cutouts. There is an interesting theology and magic system (unique, although this sort of thing is common in Duncan's work), and I want to know more about the world beyond the two Faces that we see. There is a sequel, Mother of Lies, that I do plan on getting and reading. I do appreciate that Duncan keeps his fantasy series to two or three at a maximum, rather than making them impenetrably interminable. In the meantime, I commend this volume to you.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Fifteen years ago, the four children of the doge of Celebre were taken hostage by the invading army of a foreign bloodlord in order to insure their father's cooperation with the bloodlord's political aims. The children were sent over the edge of the world, into the homeland of the invaders, where they were separated and given into the care of foster families. Now, as the tides of war begin to change, the children - now grown - are reunited, and their aim is to overthrow the dynasty of the bloodl Fifteen years ago, the four children of the doge of Celebre were taken hostage by the invading army of a foreign bloodlord in order to insure their father's cooperation with the bloodlord's political aims. The children were sent over the edge of the world, into the homeland of the invaders, where they were separated and given into the care of foster families. Now, as the tides of war begin to change, the children - now grown - are reunited, and their aim is to overthrow the dynasty of the bloodlord who invaded their homeland and ripped apart their family. Overall, the story is engaging and entertaining. The world-building is quite good, and the characters are interesting. And for most of the book there is enough tension and mystery to move the plot along. However, there also were some parts of this book that were tedious to read, and which the story would have been just as good (or better!) without. For example, Benard's fascination with the Nymph was silly and overly long, and his willingness to use her in a repulsive scheme was troublesome. Also, in the last segment of the book, the movement of the story slows to a crawl as the Celebre children spend more time than necessary discussing their past, their present situation, and so on. I could have done with less of this, and more story action. For this, I'm deducting one star. But in spite of this, my interest in knowing how the Celebre children would ultimately fare was strong enough for me to want to immediately begin reading the second book in this series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tim Hicks

    I may have to revise this rating after reading #2. This one's good enough that I will read #2 just to see what Duncan does with this somewhat laborious setup. He's obviously put a lot of work into the worldbuilding, and if I choose not to believe in the 12-sided world apparently all will be explained in #2, so I'll reserve judgement. Maybe too much worldbuilding? Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series also has many gods, but has a whoel novel for each and then some; and each god's followers don't ta I may have to revise this rating after reading #2. This one's good enough that I will read #2 just to see what Duncan does with this somewhat laborious setup. He's obviously put a lot of work into the worldbuilding, and if I choose not to believe in the 12-sided world apparently all will be explained in #2, so I'll reserve judgement. Maybe too much worldbuilding? Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos series also has many gods, but has a whoel novel for each and then some; and each god's followers don't take on a unique power from the god. Duncan has to explain each one, and work it into the plot. Maybe too many characters, too. There's a list at the front that only names a few, and some change names as we go along. I had to check a few times for "wait, which one is he/she?" Benard can't still be alive, he's such a dork. And we are led to wonder whether his power might end up at the planet-busting level. He's balanced by some other characters whose power is described minimally and subtly, leaving us wondering how important THAT player's going to be later. There are several characters whose loyalty seems to be negotiable, but maybe a few too many who are constrained to predictable actions. Some of the Hrag make Niven's Kzin seem cautious, and are so inflexible and aggressive it's hard to believe they conquered anything -- but they are offset by a few who are quite reasonable. In all, I'm left with a nagging sense that the key players have rolled the dice too many times without crapping out. But maybe in the next book ...

  10. 5 out of 5

    John

    This was a fun and fast read, but ultimately light. It's the first part of a two part story, and it never really engaged me. The setting is a twelve sided world. At the start of the book, a group of children are taken from one of the pentagonal faces to another, as war hostages. The siblings are split up, and the book takes place years later, after they have all grown up among their people's occupiers. Each chapter uses one of the children as its point of view character. The plot is fairly simple This was a fun and fast read, but ultimately light. It's the first part of a two part story, and it never really engaged me. The setting is a twelve sided world. At the start of the book, a group of children are taken from one of the pentagonal faces to another, as war hostages. The siblings are split up, and the book takes place years later, after they have all grown up among their people's occupiers. Each chapter uses one of the children as its point of view character. The plot is fairly simple, which can be fine, but so are the characters. One of the characters, the sculptor, is so unconcerned about his own life that it was very hard for me to care about him either. The sister is the most interesting character, as she pursues forbidden magic in order to survive in a nest of vipers. There are some nice twists, but ultimately I found the book light. As far as I could tell, it wasn't about anything. On the up side, it moves fast and is written in a clear and direct style. This is my first Dave Duncan, I enjoyed it, and will try him again.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sean Randall

    An excellently crafted opener in Duncan's remarkable style. Benad, Orlard and Frena are all vividly painted and styled so distinctly and differently that any concerns that you might confuse them are instantly dispelled. The witnesses are very cleverly done; I like the semantics and sheer gall they employ, although Mist's apostasy seems radical given the milieu. Still, a minor niggle in a very well paced and intriguing series of intrigue and I'm eagerly looking forward to the next. I have decided An excellently crafted opener in Duncan's remarkable style. Benad, Orlard and Frena are all vividly painted and styled so distinctly and differently that any concerns that you might confuse them are instantly dispelled. The witnesses are very cleverly done; I like the semantics and sheer gall they employ, although Mist's apostasy seems radical given the milieu. Still, a minor niggle in a very well paced and intriguing series of intrigue and I'm eagerly looking forward to the next. I have decided to prolong the wait by starting my next Duncan Duology before following up with the Dodec conclusion!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Dave Duncan is an author I consumed while in college but had not read since. This is one of his newer novels. I saw it at the library and thought I'd give it a try. Not bad. As there is only one more in this series I'll probably pick it from the library up at some point. Not a subtle book but it is entertaining. Duncan sets up a world that seemingly follows very strict rules (of magic and such) and then winds it up his story and lets it go. Dave Duncan is an author I consumed while in college but had not read since. This is one of his newer novels. I saw it at the library and thought I'd give it a try. Not bad. As there is only one more in this series I'll probably pick it from the library up at some point. Not a subtle book but it is entertaining. Duncan sets up a world that seemingly follows very strict rules (of magic and such) and then winds it up his story and lets it go.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Donna Jo Atwood

    Four young children taken hostage and separated. Now the fate of their birth nation depends on them. They don't know each other, and when they meet, they don't all like each other. This book was pretty slow. It is a set up for the next book The Mother of Lies, which I hope will move at a little swifter pace and plot. I love most of Dave Duncan's books, but this one was a place holder. Four young children taken hostage and separated. Now the fate of their birth nation depends on them. They don't know each other, and when they meet, they don't all like each other. This book was pretty slow. It is a set up for the next book The Mother of Lies, which I hope will move at a little swifter pace and plot. I love most of Dave Duncan's books, but this one was a place holder.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    Love Dave Duncan's worlds and mythology. This one is one of best. It's also one of two, not a huge epic to have to get through! Love Dave Duncan's worlds and mythology. This one is one of best. It's also one of two, not a huge epic to have to get through!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    Interesting world of gods and those who follow them.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Very good but why couldn't it be published with the sequel in one volume? Very good but why couldn't it be published with the sequel in one volume?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ratforce

    Dave Duncan is known for bringing an offhand, breezy humor to dark fantasy stories. The combination of dark, adventurous fantasy and Duncan’s sense of humor may appeal to you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David Korinetz

    I didn't finish this book. I didn't finish this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    jane

    Good escape.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    A fun, different read. I really like the world he created and very much appreciated the lack of unnecessary sex, language, and violence. Already looking forward to the sequel.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ron Judenberg

    to-read

  22. 5 out of 5

    aurynn

    It was hokey, but pretty engaging. Not bad, but not great. I'd consider it an airplane book. It was hokey, but pretty engaging. Not bad, but not great. I'd consider it an airplane book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Brilliant fantasy romp.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jane

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dee

  26. 5 out of 5

    Casey

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aimee

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  30. 5 out of 5

    Fiddler

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