The Wanderer's Last Journey: The Orfeo Saga, Book Four
By: Murray Lee Eiland, Jr.
Publication Date: January 2016
Reviewed by: Anita Lock
Date: April 2016
Friends venture into unchartered territory to rescue Orfeo in author Murray Lee Eiland’s fourth book of the Orfeo Saga.
Book four of the Orfeo Saga finds Orfeo and his wife Clarice living in the small sovereign city-state of Pylos. Journeying abroad, they become trade representatives of Malta. It’s during their time at Malta that they spy an odd Theran-like ship. This situation is quite unnerving for them since very few of this vicious tribe, which they encountered during the Great Battle, have survived. As the crew prepares to depart, they whisk Orfeo away on their ship. Daryush and his wife Semira get word of Orfeo’s kidnapping, prepare a forty-man team, and meet up with Clarice. Ninety-year-old Zurga the Wanderer, who is in Egypt, learns of Orfeo's disappearance and investigates the mysterious Theran-looking ships. His probing eventually leads to obtaining a ship and a volunteer crew. Although the two groups set off from different locations, their destination is the same—they are sailing “to the ends of the earth” to rescue Orfeo.
Orfeo, in the meantime, has been treated well by his captors even though he is not certain of their intentions. It’s not until a quetzal cock perches itself on Orfeo’s shoulder soon after the ship lands on the island of Ixtlan that he realizes the Ixtlans believe him to be Quetzalcoatl, the living god. The King of Ixtlan and his high priest cousin Asok notice the mesmerizing effect Orfeo has on the people. The two come up with schemes not only to accrue riches but also to trap and overtake their long-time enemies, the Nastases. Concurrently, Zurga meets up with the other group and shares his smart yet highly dangerous strategy to rescue Orfeo.
Eiland’s fascination with ancient history, traditions, and myths provides the groundwork for his six epic-like novels. Each book has a singular focus on people, places, and events of that period. In book four, Eiland centers the bulk of his plot on the Mesoamerican legend of Quetzalcoatl (pronounced KET-zel-QWAH-tel). Orfeo’s notable features and near-white hair make him the perfect model for this “feather serpent” god who has been idolized and worshiped for centuries within Mexican and many Central American cultures.
Although The Wanderer’s Last Journey begins where book three, Zurga’s Fire, leaves off, Eiland has designed each novel as a near stand-alone. While Eiland has quite a penchant for including copious amounts of fictional and factual minutiae, he also has an apt ability to weave his love for these forms of ancient history into the developing lives of his principle cast, which he mentions in each book. Additionally, his use of repetitive situations from previous books offers well-rounded tales and builds cohesion throughout his saga. However, what keeps his readers coming back for more are his infectious cliffhanger endings. That said, book four certainly has a catchy closure.
Quill says: The Wanderer’s Last Journey is another fascinating read, perfect for Orfeo Saga fans as well as history and fantasy aficionados.
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