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The Changing Land

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Wikipedia article

'The Changing Land' is a Locus Award nominated fantasy novel written by Roger Zelazny, first published in 1981. The novel resolves the storyline from the various Dilvish, the Damned short stories (collected in 1982 as 'Dilvish, the Damned.')

Plot summary

The novel picks up several months after the events in the last chapter of 'Dilvish, the Damned'. The Castle Timeless, one of several fortresses belonging to Dilvish's arch-enemy, Jelerak, is currently inhabited by the "mad" demi-god Tualua. Tualua is undergoing one of the "changes" common to his kind, which in this case causes the land surrounding the castle to be subject to all sorts of chaotic, unpredictable, and often-deadly effects. A number of wizards, hoping to tap into Tualua's massive powers, attempt to pass through this maelstrom and reach the castle. Watching events from the outside are members of the Society of Magic.

Dilvish, determined to avenge himself against Jelerak, appears and attempts to breach the magical barriers, hoping to find his arch-enemy inside. Accompanied by his companion Black, a demon-like being in the shape of a black metal horse, they rescue a wizard, Weleand, from being drowned in an acid pit. Soon after they meet a young Elven girl, Arlata, frozen by one of magical winds. Weleand unfreezes her by transferring the condition to Black, and escapes. Dilvish is then captured by one of the caretakers of the castle, Baran of the Extra Hand, and thrown into the dungeon with several captured wizards.

Escaping the dungeon, Dilvish wanders the castle, eventually finding Semirama, a woman from long ago resurrected by Jelerak to be one of the caretakers (along with Baran). Semirama has managed to build a rapport with the demi-god Tualua. Black manages to sneak into the castle in his human form, and encounters Jelerak, who was disguised as Weleand, about to sacrifice an unconscious Arlata as a means to gain control of Tualua. Meanwhile the escaped wizards manage to disable the maintaining spell which keeps the castle anchored in normal time, causing everyone in the castle to become temporarily unconscious, and soon the entire castle and its inhabitants are rapidly accelerated into the far future, so far that they reach a point where the world is created anew.

During the denouement, Baran is killed by one of the wizards, and both Jelerak and Tualua are claimed by the Elder Gods, the former as their prisoner and the latter as one of their own. Semirama, her resurrection canceled by the Elder Gods' apprehension of Jelerak, collapses into dust, her soul now inhabiting the alternate universe of mirrors in the castle, where she meets up with an ancestor of Dilvish's, Selar. Dilvish is initially enraged by the denial of his desire for vengeance, but then realizes that Jelerak will receive justice at the hands of the gods, and decides to go back to his homeland with Arlata, who as it turns out is the granddaughter of one of Dilvish's former loves in that land.

With the help of a Society member, the survivors escape through a magical transport mirror.




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