Sunday, May 16, 2010

People of the Talisman - Leigh Brackett


Number of words : 39500
Percent of complex words : 5.9
Average syllables per word : 1.4
Average words per sentence : 12.5


Fog : 7.3
Flesch : 78.8
Flesch-Kincaid : 5.4


Eric John Stark

N'Chaka, the Man-Without-a-Tribe. Earthman, out of Mercury.


A dying Martian.


The warlord of Mekh.

Ban Cruach

A great Martian king of old.


Leader of the Riders of Mekh.


One of Ciaran's men. Elderly and crazed.


A Kushat girl who helps Stark. Balin's sister.


The military leader in Kushat.


A soldier of Kushat. Thanis' brother.


A noble in Kushat.


A girl Stark knew in his youth.


A noble leader in Kushat.


One of the old race.



A Martian desert region.


Where Stark is heading. A city in the Martian north. The King City.

Thieves' Quarter

Where Camar was born.

Gates of Death

A pass that opens into the black mountains beyond Kushat. Domain of Ban Cruach.

Jekkara and Valkis and Barrakesh

Southern cities of Mars.

The Festival Stones

Two miles northeast of Kushat.

Quarter of the Tomb-Robbers

In Kushat. Quarter of the Blessed, a burying ground.

Kesh and Shun

Martin tribal areas.


The city that is Ciaran's eventual conqueror's goal.

Jekkara and Valkis

Cities of of the Sea-Kings.

Wells of Tamboin

Sand-drowned ruins.


City of the Ever-Living.


Lord of Silence

A deity.

High Martian

Ancient dialect.



A crystal lens, some four inches across with an intricate interlocking of many
facets. Ban Cruach's, and contains his knowledge.


Riders of Mekh

Ciaran's barbarian warriors.


Martian desert dwellers.

Border States

Martian political area.


The old race

Golden skinned and large eyed, with thumb spurs.


Globed weapons

Not a good idea to use, as they are not what they seem.


Rock lizard

Martian desert reptile.


Stark's friend Camar has taken the Talisman of Ban Cruach, and wants to take it back to Kushat. However, he has been mortally wounded, so passes it on to Stark.

Stark runs into a problem when he encounters the Riders of Merkh - a barbarian horde under the command of Lord Ciaran. He is brought in front of the lord, who shows both intelligence and brutality, but he manages to escape and make it to Kushat.

Despite being suspicious of Stark, they do take his advice and organise the city for war. The defense holds out for some time, but it is clear the city will fall.

Stark organises some people via Thanis to fall back to the Festival Stones, as a second line of defense. Ciaran is a strong leader and it doesn't take her long to take some men from the sacking of the city to go and put and end to this small band. However, Stark has a plan and lays a trap. He engineers a rockslide that cuts Ciaran off from all but a few of her men, and she is quickly captured after they are slain, and is now a hostage.

However, the Kushat exiles must go somewhere, and the draw of the talisman of Ban Cruach is strong, so they head for his old towers.

This place is strange, but also not empty. Dwelling there are the remnants of an old, decadent golden-skinned race. When they hear Kushat has fallen, and Ban Cruach's old promise of their safety gone, they aren't happy, but agree to arm the Kushat people with some of their advanced weaponry.

Except they don't, they aren't weapons of war. They have decided to end their days in a frenzied game of hunting and destroying humans and each other. After using the weapons, Stark has woken naked and unarmed, and is being herded. The talisman is destroyed by Hrillin.

Finally he finds the body of Rogain, and a sword. Not long after he encounters Ciaran, similarly armed, and he realised Hrillin knows they are enemies, and wants them to fight for their amusement. This pair of warriors has other plans, looking to breakout and fight their way to shutting down the mechanisms that keep the cold of the city at bay, allowing their antagonists' existence.

With the promise of power from this city gone, Stark makes a deal with Ciaran if she will take her army and leave, letting the Kushat people have their city back.

4 out of 5

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