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The Women And The Warlords

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After an oracle's prediction, Yenn Olas becomes involved in the life-long feud of the warlords of the Collosnon Empire. She was a witness to war, madness and wizardry, and would play a greater part in the events of her time that a mere oracle has any right to expect.

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After an oracle's prediction, Yenn Olas becomes involved in the life-long feud of the warlords of the Collosnon Empire. She was a witness to war, madness and wizardry, and would play a greater part in the events of her time that a mere oracle has any right to expect.

30 review for The Women And The Warlords

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Oracle Yen Olass gets embroiled in the inner workings of the Collosnon Empire. Can she survive the madness of war, both the depredations of the Collosnon's enemy and the Collosnons themselves? Hugh Cook said that this book was the one that made the Chronicles of the Age of Darkness commercially unviable. It's not hard to see why he said that. Yen Olass is hardly the typical fantasy heroine. She's large, mean, homely, and has strong lesbian leanings. Still, her story was very good and showed that Oracle Yen Olass gets embroiled in the inner workings of the Collosnon Empire. Can she survive the madness of war, both the depredations of the Collosnon's enemy and the Collosnons themselves? Hugh Cook said that this book was the one that made the Chronicles of the Age of Darkness commercially unviable. It's not hard to see why he said that. Yen Olass is hardly the typical fantasy heroine. She's large, mean, homely, and has strong lesbian leanings. Still, her story was very good and showed that Hugh Cook wasn't your average fantasy writer. Like the two books before it and the two after it, The Women and the Warlords tells of the war between Argan and the Collosnon Empire. Morgan Hearst, Bluewater Draven, and Watashi are the characters from the other books prominently featured. The siege of Castle Vaunting using the madness jewel is depicted yet again, this time from the point of view of one of the denizens. Instead of focusing on heroism and war, this book focuses on the place of women in Collosnon society. In short, the women of Collosnon are treated like objects for the most part. Yen Olass, an oracle, was treated even worse. Oracles are sexually mutilated when they come of age and sewn shut. No wonder Yen Olass was so angry all the time. Anyway, Yen Olass gets caught up in a web of lies, blackmail, and intrigue, and somehow manages to survive. Not somehow. She's a survivor, used to living on her cleverness. As always, Cook won me over with his originality. None of the fantasy stock monsters were used. The enemy was primarily human. The wishing machine was extremely creepy and I wondered for most of the rest of the story who or what Monogail's father was. I'm sure I'll find out in later volumes. One of the most convincing parts of the story was Yen Olass's love for Monogail and Resbit, both very well done, as was Yen olass's heartbreak when Resbit left her for a man. No review of The Women and the Warlords would be complete without the mention of two scenes. First, four people are nearly stoned to death. It was brutal and masterfully written. Second, without spoiling two much, two characters have a fight to the death that is shocking in its brutality. I've never read another fantasy story where someone has his head dashed in by rocks, is disemboweled, and has his genitals cut off. Brutal, brutal stuff. Highly recommended, both to fans of the Chronicles of an Age of Darkness, and to fans of fantasy heroines who stay away from the chain mail bikini stereotype.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Geoff

    Where the previous book in this series was a fairly humorous parody of the 'Questing Hero' mode of sword-and-sorcery fiction, The Women and the Warlords is a grimmer work, filled with menace and tension. The protagonist, Yen Olass Ampadara, is an oracle in the service of a semi-barbarous empire bent on world conquest. Her status as an oracle accords her a few privileges, but her status as a slave and a woman means she has few if any rights. Her journey through this novel is a high-wire act as sh Where the previous book in this series was a fairly humorous parody of the 'Questing Hero' mode of sword-and-sorcery fiction, The Women and the Warlords is a grimmer work, filled with menace and tension. The protagonist, Yen Olass Ampadara, is an oracle in the service of a semi-barbarous empire bent on world conquest. Her status as an oracle accords her a few privileges, but her status as a slave and a woman means she has few if any rights. Her journey through this novel is a high-wire act as she navigates her way through the company of assorted dangerous and ruthless men who could dispose of her at a moment's notice. Her quick-thinking and resourcefulness, and a lot of luck, keep her alive throughout the story but there's a constant sense of foreboding, as if all the skill and talent in the world can't ultimately save her from a society where everything is stacked against her. In this sense I was reminded of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, as our hero keeps finding new ways to fight against what seems to be her inevitable fate as a victim. Yen Olass is a great, rich character and the people she meets along the way, with their shifting loyalties and morally grey agendas, are well drawn too. All of the characters seem to be constrained by the society they live in in different ways - Lord Alagrace as the native governor of a conquered kingdom, who might be a decent man but is forced to constantly compromise to a higher authority. Nan Nulador, the thuggish soldier whose thinking is rigidly bound by superstition. Every character seems to be struggling with their own internal crises which lead them down surprising paths. Every character feels like they could be the subject of their own novel (indeed one or two of them are - I've already read the mercenary Morgan Hearst's story in book #1. The Wizards and the Warriors). I'd strongly recommend this novel to anyone who might have an interest in fantasy literature beyond the world of sub-Tolkien (and now, sub-George RR Martin) fiction that dominates the market.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jp

    This book for me confirmed what a gifted writer Cook really was. Dense with political themes, both machivellian and sexual, this really is a feminist novel, something I didn't fully appreciate reading as a boy. Hugh magnificantly portrays the need of many men to control women out of sheer machismo, and the brutality by which they achieve this manifesting at all levels of society. I was particularly fond of Lord Algrace, a man determined to bring civilization to barbarians yet failing due to his This book for me confirmed what a gifted writer Cook really was. Dense with political themes, both machivellian and sexual, this really is a feminist novel, something I didn't fully appreciate reading as a boy. Hugh magnificantly portrays the need of many men to control women out of sheer machismo, and the brutality by which they achieve this manifesting at all levels of society. I was particularly fond of Lord Algrace, a man determined to bring civilization to barbarians yet failing due to his inherent rationality and empathy; he is one of the few characters who is not an outright misogynist and see's the cultural dead end of relentless violence. Oddly even the brutal Emporer Khamar displays a similar humanist side, albeit briefly. Yenn Olass is a true hero, as a slave and especially a women she is treated as less than human, surviving the most appalling circumstances yet never losing her own sense of dignity. Her brutal slaying of York was particularly memorable. Also welcomed back are Morgan Hearst, the pirate Draven and Watashi. Truly an epic and a classic of the genre IMHO.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    Although I actually gave this one 4 stars at the time, in hindsight it was the best in the series. It goes to places that most Fantasy novels fear to tread and unflinchingly examines the very, very, very raw deal that women get in warmongering misogynist post-hunter-gatherer societies newly emerging into oppressive medieval imperialism (i.e. the kind of cultures that uncritically feature in a large number of contemporary fantasies). I have never read anything quite like it in the genre and it is Although I actually gave this one 4 stars at the time, in hindsight it was the best in the series. It goes to places that most Fantasy novels fear to tread and unflinchingly examines the very, very, very raw deal that women get in warmongering misogynist post-hunter-gatherer societies newly emerging into oppressive medieval imperialism (i.e. the kind of cultures that uncritically feature in a large number of contemporary fantasies). I have never read anything quite like it in the genre and it is about as far from Tolkien as you can get. There are no elves or shiny knights or noble heroes, just brutality and oppression and characters flailing beneath the weight of power structures that they have no hope of influencing. It isn't a pleasant read and it isn't escapism, but I would put it up there as one of the classics of the genre.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Uri Margalit

    It’s probably closer to 4.5 but no fraction stars. According to the author the book that killed his career and series. The reason is of course at the time it was written the genres main readers were male and not ready for women having the genitals unmutilated. Again I feel sorry for the author. His series was wonderful and ahead of its time breaking the mold of mindless formula fantasy. For it to be so forgotten by literary time is saddening and a loss for future fantasy readers. The whole serie It’s probably closer to 4.5 but no fraction stars. According to the author the book that killed his career and series. The reason is of course at the time it was written the genres main readers were male and not ready for women having the genitals unmutilated. Again I feel sorry for the author. His series was wonderful and ahead of its time breaking the mold of mindless formula fantasy. For it to be so forgotten by literary time is saddening and a loss for future fantasy readers. The whole series should be reprinted. Oh wait that’s part of what killed the series. Dumbass foreigners who couldn’t handle the complex naming scheme so the books got bundled edited renamed and killed for North American release. Shame.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ceri Sambrook

    I'm cheating and using this reveiw for all Hugh Cook's Chronicles of an Age of Darkness. Take almost every fantasy cliche and trope you can think of and give it to Eddings or Jordan and you get 'The Belgariad' or 'The Wheel of Time'- entertaining enough but otherwise souless pap. Give them however to Hugh Cook and you get your tiny mind blown. He turns everything on its head like no other author before or after him. Wizards, magic bottles, monsters and heroes are used in such a fresh imaginative I'm cheating and using this reveiw for all Hugh Cook's Chronicles of an Age of Darkness. Take almost every fantasy cliche and trope you can think of and give it to Eddings or Jordan and you get 'The Belgariad' or 'The Wheel of Time'- entertaining enough but otherwise souless pap. Give them however to Hugh Cook and you get your tiny mind blown. He turns everything on its head like no other author before or after him. Wizards, magic bottles, monsters and heroes are used in such a fresh imaginative way that you are glued to the story page by page. Humour pervades every book to a varying degree and one of the great disappointments in life is that he never finished the whole set as he saw them- though luckily each book can be read as a stand alone novel, rewarding fans with nods, winks and links akimbo, otherwise complete reads in themselves. I cannot recommend these books enough- even if you are not a fantasy fan; believe me these books will nothing like you expect and I think represent a truly unique literary experience

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jay Daze

    My favourite kind of hard bitten, individual focused, fantasy. The story sticks with Yen Olass through all her scramblings to stay alive in a male-centric Empire not unlike Ghengis Khan's. This is truly as shitty as things can get for women, and Yen Olass might be consider one of the lucky ones! Or as a women who rejects finding a male protector/dominator for protection she is a believable female character out of step with her own times. I loved the lulls in the book where the narrative went int My favourite kind of hard bitten, individual focused, fantasy. The story sticks with Yen Olass through all her scramblings to stay alive in a male-centric Empire not unlike Ghengis Khan's. This is truly as shitty as things can get for women, and Yen Olass might be consider one of the lucky ones! Or as a women who rejects finding a male protector/dominator for protection she is a believable female character out of step with her own times. I loved the lulls in the book where the narrative went into the characters heads. A general marchs very, very slowly to what he believes is his doom while thinking over his life. A different female character savours a moment of freedom at a lakeside where for once she doesn't have to fear assault and wonders what it would be like to have a life entirely like that. A wonderful book. I'm reading this series about one book each year cause I want to make it last.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael Gray

    Suffers somewhat from not having read the earlier parts of the series, I think, since the second half mentions a lot of off-screen events which sound cool. I will have to track down more of these, I think.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    An oracle's life is never easy.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paul

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shane Sweeney

  12. 4 out of 5

    David MacIver

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Cupitt

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeff0

  15. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Jones

  16. 5 out of 5

    Craig

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shaun Williams

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nick

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nina

  20. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jon Mann

  22. 4 out of 5

    Samuel Bytheway

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  24. 5 out of 5

    Russell Heilling

  25. 5 out of 5

    Murray Dixon

  26. 4 out of 5

    Restio

  27. 4 out of 5

    Merit Coba

  28. 5 out of 5

    Troy Chamberlain

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nigel

  30. 4 out of 5

    Richard Price

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