The Golden Torc (Saga of the Pliocene Exile, #2)
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The Golden Torc (Saga of the Pliocene Exile #2)

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  3,635 ratings  ·  67 reviews
By A.D. 2110 nearly 100,000 humans had fled the civilized strictures of the Galactic Milieu for the freedom they thought existed at the end of the one-way time tunnel to Earth, six million B.C.
But all of them had fallen into the hands of the Tanu, a humanoid race who'd fled their own galaxy to avoid punishment for their barbarous ways.
And now the humans had made the Tanu s...more
Paperback, 383 pages
Published 1983 by Pan Books (first published January 1st 1982)
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The scope of this saga spanning eight novels is staggering. A gate is opened to the past, specifically the Pliocene era. But it is a one-way trip. Adventurous souls travel back, and find a world unlike any they could imagine. Epic conflict rages between ancient races, and the future destiny of man is decided. The initial four books make up The Saga of Pliocene Exile.

* The Many-Coloured Land
* The Golden Torc
* The Nonborn King
* The Adversary

These can be read as a standalone series, but who wou...more
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This entry feels more fantastical than the first, although science definitely still factors in. It is richer in action and intrigue and perhaps a bit less focused on character development.

This is a difficult book to sum up, since so very much happens. It’s an action-packed chunkster, providing the reader with information and new settings without ever feeling like an info-dump. The medieval-like flare of the Tanu and the goblin/fairie/shapeshifter qualities of the Firvulag are stronger in this en...more
Die Revolution geht weiter

Dieses Buch stellt den zweiten von vier Bänden des Pliozän-Zyklus von Julian May dar. Einen Überblick über den Inhalt des Zyklus und die Reihenfolge der Bücher habe ich bei meiner Rezension zum ersten Band "Das vielfarbene Land" gegeben. Um diese Rezension kürzer zu halten verweise ich an dieser Stelle auf diese Rezension.

Am Beginn des Romans gibt es eine sehr gute und ausführliche Zusammenfassung, diese kann die Lektüre des ersten Teil natürlich nicht ersetzen, wenngle...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in August 1998.

The second of May's Pliocene-set Saga of the Exiles series, The Golden Torc continues from where The Many-Coloured Land left off. The humans from the group focused upon in the first novel are continuing to make a large contribution to the alien society they have found themselves in. Aiken Drum is insinuating himself into the highest echelons of society; Elizabeth is trying not to let the Tanu take advantage of her newly recovered mental capacit...more
If you have gotten this far, you will know what the setting is to the Saga of the Pliocene Exile. You may also be wondering what, exactly, is going on with the four characters that went to the Tanu capital of Muriah. And that is where the book picks up.

So, the reader finds themselves backwards in time before the rebel uprising at the end of The Many-Colored Land to catch up with Bryan, Aiken Drum, Elizabeth, and the 'Viking' Stein. Theirs is a much more politically driven story, as they maneuver...more
These are the first books I have read by this author and I absolutely loved it. In the future, a time portal is discovered that can transport people back to the Pliocene era. A lot of people choose this exile rather than continue living as they have, but a surprise awaits them. A race of aliens crash landed on Earth and dominate the era, using humans in their fight between their two factions, the Tanu and the Firvalug. Torcs control the populace and enhance physic power, creating a world of slav...more
I wanted to give this second volume in the series a better rating but I just couldn't do so. The story itself is more involved and entertaining than the first volume but May manages to manhandle the European lore motif until it's less like reading a sci-fi/fantasy novel and more like a college level mythology class.

Potentially interesting characters in which the reader might have vested empathy are abstracted and stereotyped until no one really cares about what will happen to them. The remainin...more
The only reason I did not review this was because I was too busy trying to get through the next book, so I am writing this quickly, months later. The Golden Torc was AMAZING. I loved it and became a big fan of Aiken Drum. Overall, I loved the four books in this series, and if I had to rank them, I'd say the Golden Torc was the best, The Many Coloured Land was second, The Non Born King was third and the last book, The Adversary, was my least favorite. The Adversary was still good, however, and it...more
In general I give all series two volumes to entice me to read further—in this case, May has failed utterly. Somehow she has taken a good concept and serviceable storytelling and written a book almost entirely devoid of interest. The few sympathetic characters she presents have so minor a role that finding out what happens to them has next to no appeal. I've watched all people and events become slowly more sterile and cold, and in the end I had to push myself to read the last hundred pages. I'm l...more
Exotic aliens with mind numbing and creative psychic powers enslave humans who have time travelled six million years into the past. And this book (2/4) describes the buildup to the great combat that takes place on silver plains between effectively elves and goblins. Shape shifting, fireballs, betrayal, love, prophecy, challenge, score sheets and pesky humans combine with a great inundation that washes many characters clean away. Pulling on Celtic myths, playing fast and loose with geology, and g...more
Ward Bond

By A.D. 2110 nearly 100,000 humans had fled the civilized strictures of the Galactic Milieu for the freedom they thought existed at the end of the one-way time tunnel to Earth, six million B.C.
But all of them had fallen into the hands of the Tanu, a humanoid race who'd fled their own galaxy to avoid punishment for their barbarous ways.
And now the humans had made the Tanu stronger than the Firvulag, their degenerate brethren and ritual antagonists. Soon the Tanu would reign supreme. Or so they th

Characters run the gamut of achieving their dreams, only to have them crash down, ridiculously insane battles of psychic power/illusion, tragedy befalls, and lives and the status quo are threatened to go nova. May really created a weird mix of brassy/salt of the earth (sometimes veering on antagonistic archetype, but also reminding of David Eddings fantasy series characters) character types clashing in X-Men style battles, Celtic myth strewn through Star Trek aliens, with a clinical biologist/ge...more
Simply the best space opera, and the best series of novels I've ever read. This is the first of the nine, and while the last three show signs of fatigue, these novels capture a cast of characters, and one in Marc Remillard, that are truly memorable. From the worlds and milieu May imagines to her evocative themes, the novels capture humanity with all its foibles and promise, and if you stick around for #6, you'll get the best plot twist in all of bookdom.
Allen Garvin
This giant scifi-borderline-fantasy space opera really gets going in the second volume, when Tanu culture and society is really introduced for the first time, and the plot because far more complex, with what seemed previously like oppressive villains because interesting characters with understandable motivations. The sweep of the series is enormous, and starts to open up in this wonderful volume.
The problem with some trilogies is that they tend to get a bit slow in the middle (I'm looking at you, Lord of the Rings). Julian May has avoided this by a) making the Saga of the Exiles a quadrilogy and b) ending the second book with events so huge, you wonder how momentum could possible be kept up. The word "epic" is rather overused, but I can't think of a better one to describe this book.
Alan Denham
Golden Torc - second in the Saga of the Exiles. This is simply a continuation of Book 1, the Many-Coloured Land. All the things I said in that review are also true here. Please read that review. This is Book 2 of either 4 or 8 depending how you want to count.
I read this years ago when it was first published. After that, I would wait avidly for the next to arrive at the local bookshop. These books made an impact somehow. I sold them at a garage sale in the '90's then re-bought the set recently. Fantasy + science fiction + metas + in depth character development = excellent read.
• Tom •
Never finished it. Was getting very weird and not really engaging me. I gave up after about 1/3 of the book.
I've recently re-read this book (and am re-reading the series). What a wonderful scene and a gripping story, with interesting characters, excitement and humour. Julian May is an excellent writer and the strength of the ideas behind these stories is compelling. Some of my favourite ever fantasy writing.
Sharon Reamer
A worthy continuation of the series with a dramatic conclusion. The characters from the first book continue in their character arcs and new characters are added making it hard to keep track at all times. But enjoyable. The telepathic abilities power is still fairly believable.
This series is amazing. The writer's canvas is huge - there are so many plots and so many characters, but I was never confused about who was doing what. Their plotting and machinations are as intricate as those at any royal court, and the double-crosses abound.
May continues his romp through a mediaeval world inhabited by humans and two warring alien races. It's great fun, decent if slightly one-dimensional characters and an epic conclusion to book 2 that almost feels as if should have been the series finale.
Dirk Lapere
Like the first book, I liked the original setting and storyline. The ending of the book left me wanting though. It was like the author didn't know how to end the story and just went for a quick solution. Now I wonder if book 3 will be worth it.
A great sequel where the characters fates are enlarged upon after their jounrey through the time gate.
Well thought out and great continuity and flow.
Doesn't lose pace and follows on well from where it left off from the first novel.
Ann Thomas
Re-read all these books every few years with great pleasure. Aiken Drum's mental powers outstrip the torc. Felice also develops great powers but she is unstable.When the ritual great contest takes place her actions are extreme.
Much better than the first book, as the characters gain some complexity to them (though Felice is still a homophobic nightmare, for all she's supposedly an Artemis archetype in the same way Mercy is La Belle Dame Sans Merci).
complicated! the best scifi/fantasy novels get you to understand their world without just explaining it. May is pretty good at avoiding the over-explanatory, it only happens a little. i am looking forward to the next one.
Michael B
Excellent science fiction/fantasy blend. A classic of the genre, with an interesting concept. The later books wore thin, but the first three are excellent. I truly wanted to visit the Pliocene epoch!
High adventure in the far past continues in part two - things blow up, characters you like will die, and slowly the stage is set for my favorite part of the story (the link to the Galactic Milieu series).
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Pseudonym Ian Thorne, J.C. May, Lee N. Falconer.
More about Julian May...
The Many-Coloured Land (Saga of Pliocene Exile, #1) The Adversary (Saga of Pliocene Exile, #4) The Nonborn King (Saga of the Pliocene Exile, #3) Jack the Bodiless Diamond Mask (Galactic Milieu Trilogy, #2)

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