A new Charter is meant to protect Cadwal better than the original one it replaced but that doesn’t seem enough to bring tranquility to the planet. Factions with very different agendas for Cadwal’s future continue to work on old and new intrigues that endanger peace.
Glawen Clattuc is forced once again to start a mission that takes him away from Cadwal, this time with Eustace Chilke, to discover at least some truths. Personal feuds continue to be intertwined with struggles for power at various levels with recent events intertwined with others dating back many years.
The Cadwal Chronicles are centered around a planet discovered by a member of the Naturalist Society of Earth, which has established precise rules to preserve its nature. They’re part of a fictional universe known generically as Gaean Reach but the various cycles and single novels set within it are completely autonomous.
The first two Cadwal Chronicles novels offered another great story in Jack Vance’s career, that at the time that was already very long. The American author created an extraordinary planetary setting at the center of a story that extended over other planets, including the old Earth. The most important subplots had their own conclusion but this was not enough to reveal all the complex intrigues concerning the planet, so here’s this third novel to conclude this series.
Wayness Tamm was a protagonist above all in “Ecce and Old Earth”, instead in “Throy” she’s put into the background. Glawen Clattuc is still in the spotlight in a new investigation, although in this novel he often ends up being a witness to events rather than being at their center. Along with him there are other old and new characters, with a variable development. As if Jack Vance had lost interest in the romance between Glawen and Wayness, in this novel he begins the one between Eustace Chilke and a woman who calls herself Flitz.
The title of the novel refers to one of the continents of the planet Cadwal, but this new adventure actually takes place above all on other planets. That’s because the plots connected to various intrigues that are from the beginning a crucial part of the Cadwal Chronicles go far from the planet.
The only problem of “Throy” is that sometimes it gives the impression of being a sort of extra, an extension of the two previous novels in which Jack Vance concludes some events left unfinished. To be clear, this is a quality extra that still shows the typical characteristics that make Jack Vance’s stories enjoyable. However, it exploits the world building already made adding nothing big.
The structure of the Cadwal Chronicles makes it a trilogy that is in some ways anomalous. I had the impression that the third novel wasn’t programmed at the beginning. For this reason, “Ecce and Old Earth” ends with events crucial for the future of the planet Cadwal that work as the conclusion of the story. “Throy” is the shortest novel in the trilogy as it tells some more adventures connected to that story. The author managed to create an ending with a bang to have a new conclusion.
“Throy” is an imperfect novel that lacks some of the peaks that made the previous novels great. Nevertheless, Jack Vance’s fantasy makes it a really entertaining read, so I recommend reading the whole Cadwal Chronicles.