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Non Born King (Saga of the Pliocene Exile #3)

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  4,270 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
The story began with a group of talented misfits from the Galactic Milieu of 2110 A.D. who passed through a time portal, hoping to find an idyllic world six million years ago in Earth's Pliocene Epoch. Instead, they encountered two exiled alien races--the knightly Tanu, who had made slaves of the time travelers, and the dwarfish Firvulag, fierce rivals of the Tanu. At the ...more
ebook, 362 pages
Published February 18th 1983 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) (first published 1983)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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This series would make a wonderful graphic novel—it has lots of prehistoric beasties, action-packed battle scenes, dramatic psychic powers, and lots of opinionated & quirky characters.

Humans from our future have become part of the Galactic Milieu, a kind of Federation of those races with psychic powers of various sorts. But not everyone has what it takes to fit into this system and others are unhappy with the direction that their society is moving. Some of the most disgruntled take a one-wa
Mar 27, 2011 Andreas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Stef Rozitis
This book is the third in the series. I don't think it matters which one you start with I am guessing they are all as dehumanising as this one.

There was a lot to dislike about this book. It was quite pretentious in the way it was written (obligatory poem in there and a lot of allusions or direct quotes from elsewhere, too many ethnic or plain strange ways of talking, diversity as exoticised stereotype, etc)

There were too many groups of characters and each group had a LOT of characters. Despite t
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.
Collin Reremoana
A GREAT READ!!!!!!!!!
Simon Mcleish
Mar 14, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally published on my blog here in September 1998.

The third of May's Saga of the Exiles follows on from the climactic events of Golden Torc, which ended with the Atlantic flooding in past Gibraltar to begin the creation of the modern Mediterranean. The three communities, Tanu, human and Firvulag, are all seeking to rebuild in various ways, the different factions among them trying to use the chaos - coming more from the deaths of a large proportion of the Tanu ruling class than from the othe
Jan 18, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This trilogy was amazing. May's ability to blend such a wide range of characters into the story was flawless, and the overarching story was dramatic as well. Watching each character grow as the story continued was great too. I laughed, I cried, etc.;)
Aug 01, 2007 Jude rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
this one was harder to get through. The first two I read cover to cover in a two or three days.
Mar 12, 2016 Catsalive rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Finally got around to the 3rd book in the Saga of the Exiles. I found the continuing political machinations a bit tedious. I will push through to the finale, however.
James Ausmus
Great book - now I have to go get the next one!
Storyline: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 2/5
The thrill is gone
The thrill is gone away
The thrill is gone baby
The thrill is gone away

I was a steadfast fan of the first in this series. It was an adventure and discovery novel done right. May took us into a new world (or an old one, depending on how you think about it), and on a delightful exploration. The encounters in the new world were momentous and revelatory. Along with the characters we grappled not only with the expected obstacle
Roddy Williams
‘The dominion of the Tanu has been broken. In the aftermath of cataclysm, Aiken Drum seizes his hour to grasp control of the Pliocene world.

There are those, human and Tanu, who rally to him – and those who fear and hate him. The Grand Master, Elizabeth... the mad Felice... the goblin hordes of the Firvulag all thrust into a violent and stormy struggle for irresistible power.’

Blurb from the 1983 Pan paperback edition

In the third volume of May’s ‘Saga of The Exiles’ we join our heroes in the after
Die Tetralogie wird schwächer

Verglichen mit den ersten beiden Bänden des vierteiligen Pliozänzyklus, steht hier der eindeutig schwächste Band zur Diskussion. Den Überblick über den gesamten Handlungsbogen des Zyklus habe ich beim ersten Band (Das vielfarbige Land) gegeben, um diese Rezension nicht weiter aufzublähen verweise ich hier nur auf dieses Werk.

Wiederum gibt es am Anfang des Buches eine sehr ausführliche Zusammenfassung der bisherigen Ereignisse, die es durchaus erlauben würde, erst hie
David Meiklejohn
After the flood! Felice's destructive opening of the Gibraltar Straits has totally changed the world for the Tanu, the Firvulag and the humans who have gone back in time to the Pliocene. Aiken is trying to rebuild and claim kingship, Nodonn is alive but cast away, Mercy has to pretend she's happy to be Aiken's queen, Elizabeth tries to help and guide, and meanwhile the operant humans are plotting from the far side of the Atlantic, and the mysterious Abaddon has plans for them all.
This is so well
Chris Branch
Dec 22, 2011 Chris Branch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Although I'd read this twice before, the last time was ten years ago, so I have to admit I'd forgotten some of the details. This made the re-reading familiar overall but with some twists that were unexpected until the last moment. The series continues to be as fantastic as I'd recalled, with more complicated machinations among humans, Tanu and Firvulag in the aftermath of the flood. It's also in this volume that we start to learn more about Marc Remillard, his family, and his band of rebels, lay ...more
Warren Peas
Nov 19, 2015 Warren Peas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Julian May is nothing if not thorough: she created an entire galactic civilization, replete with alien races, just to serve as backstory for her future-meets-past romp through Earth's prehistory. Stylistically, too, she piles it on: not someone you'd describe as "spare," her prose is as purple as it gets, festooned with words from the far corners of the thesaurus.

Yet it works, pretty much because all the bling-encrusted verbiage never upstages a solid, well-paced story. There's a superb cast of
Sharon Reamer
May 14, 2013 Sharon Reamer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was my least-favorite book of the series. It was bogged down in the accumulation by certain characters (mainly Aiken Drum but also others) accumulating and manifesting their telepathic powers and asserting them over others. The internal politics of the Tanu race overshadowed the relationships to the other races, but I found that mostly enjoyable. Although many of the characters engender some sympathy, I found it hard to identify with most of them - good or bad or as was often the case, in b ...more
Ward Bond
Jun 25, 2012 Ward Bond rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

On Earth, six million B.C., two species of alien ruled, the graceful humanoid Tanu and their twisted brethren, the Firvulag. Then men from twenty-second century Earth arrived through a one-way time tunnel and soon the aliens were locked in a battle to the death, for the humans had upset the precarious balance of power that existed between them.
But when the tides of combat had receded, no one group held firm control, though Aiken Drum, man of no woman born, had declared himself the Nonborn King

A fantastic third book in the series. The adventure continues as Aiken tries to consolidate his power as King of the Pliocene, the Firvulags turn on their human allies, old enemies from across the Atlantic make themselves known and someone comes back from the dead. I am really enjoying this series; one of the best SF/fantasy mix I have read in a long, long time. Everything feels slightly familiar, as if this really is a history of our oldest myths and legends. Can't wait to read the last book in ...more
Neal Schlegel
May 02, 2008 Neal Schlegel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe I began identifying more with the tanu from the end of the manycolored land and find aiken drum to be a detestable little worm who brought an end to a noble grand beautiful culture with his guns and super powers now I think I know how the Iroquoise or the Aztec felt when the white man came to their lands they invited them in and showed them how to survive and the white man repaid them with destruction.
Re-read, roughly 20 years after I first found it. Terrible American cover on this site! Aiken looks nothing like that. Perhaps the weakest of the four. In the aftermath of the White Silver Plain, the now-mostly-human politics are not as interesting. I wonder if May only decided on the tone of this after the success of the first two books. Marc is barely mentioned in I and II, whereas he's all over the others.
John Devlin
Mar 20, 2007 John Devlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 09, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 18, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-reading the Saga of the Pliocene Exiles after 25 years always ran the risk that the books wouldn't be as brilliant as I thought they were way back then. I needn't have worried. The Non Born King has a little more action than the previous two books, as Aiken's bid for power on elder earth really kicks off. A brilliant book, but you need to start with The Many-Coloured Land.
Dec 14, 2013 Graham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Am enjoying this series of books again. This third book has the political intrigue, 'magic', big monsters, bad guys, good guys, a dragon, Abaddon, gold, more gold, betrayal, love turning to ashes, intelligence, Wagner, Celtic myths, ancient geology, and fishing. Oh, and aliens. Such a lot of fun. So glad these didn't go into the 'charity shop' pile.
Alan Denham
Nov 06, 2012 Alan Denham rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-paper
This is the third in the Saga of the Exiles. The whole story in Julian May's universe exists as a double set of four volumes each - Saga is the first four volumes, which are not standalones. The first volume is The Many-Coloured Land - please see my review of that book, it wouldn't make sense to review this separately
Sep 22, 2012 Ria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great story expanding on the fortunes of the time travellers in the Pliocene era, in this volume you also get to meet some important key figures that are obviously going to impact on the later novels in the series. The story centres on the Nodonn / Aiken Drum power struggle for supremacy that leads to a climactic battle for the rule of the Many coloured land.
Powerful and rich in detail.
Neil Henning
Jul 22, 2013 Neil Henning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Following on from the sheer awesome that was the first two books - this one was a bit of a slow starter. Half way through things change though, and I was racing to find out what was going on in Pliocene Earth!
Nov 20, 2016 M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ciencia-ficcion
A la que llega el tercero, la cosa empieza a flojear. Los personajes más interesantes se han perdido y varias escenas las lees en diagonal porque los que quedan no son la mitad de interesantes de lo que se creen.
Ann Thomas
Aug 01, 2012 Ann Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Re-read all these books every few years with great pleasure. Aiken Drum becomes king, fulfilling a prophecy, as he was grown in vitro and not born. He fights to win the loyalty of the people and defeats his enemies.
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Pseudonym Ian Thorne, J.C. May, Lee N. Falconer.
More about Julian May...

Other Books in the Series

Saga of the Pliocene Exile (4 books)
  • The Many-Coloured Land (Saga of Pliocene Exile, #1)
  • The Golden Torc (Saga of the Pliocene Exile, #2)
  • The Adversary (Saga of Pliocene Exile, #4)

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