Jack Vance – Throy

Jack Vance concludes The Cadwal Chronciles with Throy (1992) and that is basically what it does. At the end of the second book, Ecce And Old Earth, a central goal in the series was achieved and the final novel deals with what happens after. There were a few issues left that needed to be resolved and Vance does this in a surprising way.

The surprise is however not a positive one. The great weakness or flaw of Throy is that it lacks a plot. It contains a handful of events in which the main protagonists only play a minor role. Oddly enough the bulk of the novel is taken up by a long non-sensical quest that goes into peculiar directions. The quest itself is of relatively minor importance but Vance spends a lot of time in it.

Much can be said about the size of Throy. The first novel was a heavy tome, the second 200 pages shorter and the third, Throy, has even more than 200 pages less than that. Usually that should not be a problem as Vance normally writes novels the size of Throy. In this case he seemed to have been unable to come up with a good plot and devized something else. This is basically the quest in which a number of worlds are visited that allow Vance to showcase his ability to create unique and interesting cultures and societies. He addresses a few different themes that actually divert the reader from realizing that the quest is being stalled. Vance shows his qualities but they are not to the benefit of the actual story.

Throy is not entirely a dull affair as I may portray it. There are a number of action scenes which are in away unique to Vance. They provide shocks and twists although they do not last very long. There is a measure of brutality to them that is unusual as Vance likes to go for something subtle or simple.

On my grounds Throy is not up to par to the average Vance novel and it is certainly far below the high level of the other two books of the trilogy. It lacks a decent plot and the central quest has the feeling of being more filler than having true substance. Aside from these things Vance does cover some grounds he hasn’t touched on before. There are still many of his qualities on display that make Throy an enjoyable and interesting read. So it is far from his worst and one cannot miss it as it concludes the trilogy in a number of surprising ways to a sufficient degree of satisfaction.

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