Title: The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire (Wraeththu #3)
Author: Storm Constantine
Publisher: Immanion Press (First published 1989)
This is the final instalment in Storm Constantine’s trilogy, and is told from Cal’s point of view, ostensibly in the form of his journal keeping while he travels. We join him in Fallsend, as far from the light of Immanion as he can get, surrounded by all the dregs of Wraeththu society, many of whom have run and can get no further. The Cal we meet here is vastly different from the Cal we got to know through Pellaz’s and Swift’s eyes.
Bitter and negative, he has very little purpose, and revels in his outcast status. He hits a nadir we could never have imagined in the preceding books, even when he murdered Orien after being driven mad by Pell’s apparent death. Though it is clear he still has feelings for Pell, he also labours under the assumption that Pell has rejected him. Thiede’s second-rate offer has also been spurned. Cal will have all of Pell, or none.
What follows is a hallmark of Constantine’s writing echoed in Sea Dragon Heir – the protagonist embarks on a quest, that changes him both physical and metaphysical levels. Cal journeys through the territories of various Wraeththu tribes and gradually heals, reclaims his power and discovers purpose, not to mention becoming entrusted with a great secret that rivals the Aghama himself. Such is Cal, an antinomian figure in Wraeththu society, always daring where others fear to tread. As much as Pellaz is the light of Wraeththu, Cal is the dark – but to reveal more is to ruin the story.
As always, Constantine envisions a remarkable setting laden with esoteric meaning and populated with fascinating characters – all combining to lay a feast for those readers who appreciate this sort of thing.
The conclusion was suitably apt, even if I personally felt that the execution came off a bit rushed – there were parts where I wanted Constantine to offer more complex layering. This being said, and when the mythos is viewed as a whole, this issue doesn’t detract from my overall enjoyment. Granted, I do feel that the writing style for book three is a bit choppy compared to the preceding two, and I’m not certain whether this was done on purpose to show how fragmented Cal had become at first.
What Constantine excels in doing is her world building, which is as always incredibly tactile. The story unfolds at a leisurely pace, and I’m pretty sure that I’ll revisit this particular trilogy some time in the future and inevitably discover other elements I did not at first consider.