I’ll start: I read a novel maybe 5-ish years ago, where there was a group of masters (possibly Masters?) who always wore masks - any of their slaves who saw them maskless were killed. The main character is a boy from the hinterlands, who has to travel to the capital (I think the Emperor is dying or dead or some-such). Other notable items: they take a highway that’s along the top of a wall, and apparently they’ve got a bunch of big-ass walls keeping their slaves isolated. I think some of the slaves were non-human, too? The capital city is in a crater, with all the estates around the edges. There’s a lake in the middle, with a forbidden area for just the emperor (and family?). It was definitely the first in a series, ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. Can’t for the life of me remember the author or the name of the book, though. Anyone read it?
Sort of reminds me of Destiny’s Road by Larry Niven. Except for the masked masters part; I don’t remember that, but it’s been nearly 10 years since I read this.
Ricardo Pinto’s The Chosen? It definitely had the masks and the killing if a face were seen, and I’m certain it ended in a cliffhanger.
I think you prolly nailed it, js.
Yeah, I’ve been thinking, trying to remember more about the book. It was an amazing, horrifying read. I remember these really elaborate robes the ruling class wore, and tall shoes. They were already supposed to be much taller than their slaves, and I think the slaves needed ladders to dress them.
There were men who were blinded and had their tongues cut out who spoke through slaves by manipulating their vocal cords.
There was a gay relationship late in the book, and a shocker reveal of a character, and I think the book ends with an abduction.
It all centered around some sort of election, though I couldn’t say what exactly was going on.
I started the second book but something in it just turned my stomach. I couldn’t keep reading.
Is this familiar, runcible spoon?
Bingo! Thank you, I’ve had that at the back of my mind for a while, thinking I’d eventually remember it, but to no avail. It was definitely a strange read - lots of novel, horrible and/or fascinating things going on. Looks like he’s written two more - I’ll have to check them out.
I’m very intrigued. Turns out my local library has the first 2 books; I’ll pick them up Monday.
I just hope they aren’t as misogynisticly violent as Stephen Donaldson’s Gap books. I barely finished the first and was unable to bring myself to read more than a chapter or 2 of the 2nd.
I’d consider them extremely male-oriented. I’m having a tough time remembering any major female characters at all. But, I read it probably 8-9 years ago and might be forgetting someone important. I remember I posted here when I tried to read the second book. I’m going to look for that thread to see if it tells me anything else.
Huh. I can’t find it. I found where I said this in 2003:
“Try “The Stone Dance of the Chameleon” series by Ricardo Pinto. I’ve only read The Chosen, but it was wonderful, very complex, with a gay (or perhaps bisexual, the issue hasn’t been fully explored) hero.”
If I recall correctly, there weren’t very many characters to begin with. I don’t remember getting a sense of misogyny, so much as the absence of women. But then, it was a while ago, so don’t quote me on that.
ETA: Wasn’t there something about his mother having been important?
Perhaps. I have a very vague notion she was.