|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2011)|
Cover sample of "The Gandalara Cycle: The Steel of Raithskar" Book 1 in the Series.
|Author||Randall Garrett & Vicki Ann Heydron|
|Genre||Science fiction novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
Ricardo Carillo, an aging language professor with a terminal illness, is flirting with a captivating young woman on a Mediterranean cruise ship. They both watch with wonder, and a growing horror, as a dazzlingly beautiful star quickly grows to engulf the sky and then crashes into the ship.
Ricardo awakens in a blinding hot desert, with no idea where he is and a dead man by his side.
Without knowing how or why, Ricardo finds himself inhabiting the body of a strong, healthy, young man named Markasset. Ricardo quickly learns that Markasset is wanted for murder and the theft of a precious and powerful gemstone, the Ra'ira. Ricardo has only a smattering of Markasset's memories, and no idea if he is guilty or innocent. But with the help of a giant warcat named Keeshah, with whom he shares a telepathic bond, and the beautiful illusionist, Tarani, Ricardo sets out on a quest to recover the missing gemstone and clear his new name.
But what has happened to Markasset? And when will he want his body back? Now that he has a new lease on life, can Ricardo let it go?
The series is full of vivid characters, sword play, great warcats, and a desert world called Gandalara...a kind of alien Arabian Nights. Originally released as seven novels, the series was repackaged into three volumes (The Gandalara Cycle I, The Gandalara Cycle II, & The River Wall). In the 1986 edition of the Gandalara Cycle II two of the books are out of order. The Search for KÄ appears after Return to Eddarta.
Books in the Series
- The Steel of Raithskar
- The Glass of Dyskornis
- The Bronze of Eddarta
- The Well of Darkness
- The Search for KÄ
- Return to Eddarta
- The River Wall
The entire story actually takes place approximately 5 million years in Earth's past. At that time the Straits of Gibraltar have closed due to a shift in the Tectonic Plates of Europe and Africa. Without replenishment from the Atlantic Ocean the Mediterranean Sea has evaporated. Gandalara exists on the dry and salty floor of what will become the Mediterranean Sea once the floodgates of Gibraltar open up again. Ricardo Carillo had been traveling on the Mediterranean Sea when he had traveled back to the past.
- 'The Steel of Raithskar' - When the fireball hit the cruise ship, Ricardo Carillo was already on his way out-a terminally ill language professor. He regained consciousness as a healthy young man in the desert, but it wasn't a desert on Earth. Further surprises awaited him in the exotic city of Raithskar where he was identified as Markasset, a master swordsman, son of a powerful leader, and a man on the run, accused of murder and the theft of a precious gemstone. With the aid of Keeshah, a great warcat with which he shared a telepathic link, he set out to clear his newfound name.
- 'The Glass of Dyskornis' - For Ricardo Carillo, taking over the life of the swordsman Markasset on the desert world of Gandalara had its compensations: a strong young body, a beautiful fiancee, and a mighty telepathic warcat named Keeshah, who obeyed his every command. It also had its problems. Markasset had many enemies, and one was out for blood. So Ricardo and Keeshah left Raithskar to join the Sharith (the warrior brotherhood of warcat riders). But trouble followed, and he soon found himself in the company of a jealous lieutenant and a lovely but treacherous illusionist, on the track of the murderer who had stolen Gandalara's most precious gemstone.
- 'The Bronze of Eddarta' - Somewhere in Eddarta, stolen by the treacherous assassin, lay the Ra'ira, the most precious gemstone of the burning desert world of Gandalara. Armed with the Steel sword of Serkajon, Rikardon and his telepathic warcat Keeshah seek the sacred stone. With the aid of Tarani, a beautiful illusionist with a mysterious past, they make a daring raid on Eddarta's royal citadel to rescue the gemstone before its awesome powers can be used for destruction.
- 'The Well of Darkness' - Bearing the Ra'ira, Raithskar's most sacred gemstone, Rikardon and Tarani flee their ruthless enemy across the burning deserts of Gandalara. Protected by the swordsman's mighty warcat Keeshah and the mystic bird Lonna who obeys the illusionist's commands, the two discover the smoldering passion they have long denied. But when Keeshah leaves them to answer his mating instinct in the Valley of the Sha'um, Rikardon and Tarani must risk death in the Well of Darkness to fulfill their destiny.
- 'The Search for KÄ' - Rikardon and Tarani, with Keeshah and his mate Yayshah, set off on their quest for the lost city of Kä to find the twin to Serkajon's sword and prove Tarani's claim to the throne of Eddarta. To locate the legendary city, Rikardon must meld once again with the mystic All-Mind and travel back in time to share the memories of the fabled King Zanek himself. But in the forsaken wastes of the burning Gandalaran desert, Tarani will also reach a reckoning with the fateful secret of her past.
- 'Return to Eddarta' - Their mission to the lost city of Kä a resounding success, Rikardon and Tarani begin a long trek across Gandalara. Their journey leads them to a savage conflict with the ape-like vineh, a bittersweet reunion in Raithskar, and at last, to their goal: Eddarta, on the River Wall. There, Tarani must call upon more strength and determination than she has ever summoned in her life, facing off against the treachery of the wicked High Lord Indomel for her rightful place on Eddarta's throne.
- 'The River Wall' - In the Valley of the Mists, Rikardon and Tarani have discovered an ancient truth that will alter the destiny of Gandalara forever. But an evil lord has enslaved the land through the mystic force of the sacred gemstone called the Ra'ira. Outlawed and hunted, Rikardon and Tarani stage a daring and desperate raid to shatter his death grip of fear. In this stunning epic, the sweeping saga of Gandalara reaches its unexpected, awe-inspiring conclusion as the secret of this strange desert world is revealed at last.
According to the jacket copy of the collected editions, Randall Garrett had written an outline for the series and a draft of The Steel of Raithskar when he fell seriously ill and was unable to write further. Vicki Ann Heydron worked from Garrett's outline to write the rest of the series, though the introduction to The River Wall indicated that Heydron thought the final book in the series was "most uniquely hers."