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The Adversary (Saga of the Pliocene Exile #4)

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  4,169 Ratings  ·  51 Reviews
Until the arrival of Aiken Drum, the 100,000 humans who had fled backward in time to Pliocene exile on Earth knew little but slavery to the Tanu, the humanoid aliens who came from another galaxy. But King Aiken's rule is precarious, for the Tanu's twisted brethren are secretly maneuvering to bring about his downfall. Worse, Aiken is about to confront a man of incredibly po ...more
Paperback, 472 pages
Published September 12th 1987 by Del Rey Books (first published January 1st 1984)
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My least favourite of the 4 Pliocene Exile books. It took me a while to get into this one, although eventually I found myself back into the flow. I have to admire the intricate nature of May’s plot and how it all ties together eventually. I did find that the sheer number of characters (not all of whom I remembered well) was part of the reason that it was slow going in the beginning. Also, the involvement of Marc Remillard was tiring to me—I was much more interested in the other humans, the Tanu ...more
Roddy Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharon Reamer
May 16, 2015 Sharon Reamer rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The overall series deserves four stars, even though I've given the third and fourth book three stars. I enjoyed the continuity, the exquisite world-building, enhanced by the cool geological descriptions. The detail of the survival of the humans in the Pliocene and their various trades and specialties was also rendered more than believable. I sometimes felt I was there, with them, in the Pliocene Exile.

However, the telepathic powers plot device overshadowed all of the good things, pushing my ove
Storyline: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 2/5

This series has the distinction of making every subsequent volume worse than the one before.

Despite having 1,748 pages in which to develop the Pliocene, I never felt that I got to know the Many-Colored Land. We were immersed in politics and war, distracted with minor romances and side-quests, and pelted with PK technobabble, Latin and French, but the only feeling I got for the land was that the mountains were taller and the fauna more sau
Craig McMahon
Dec 04, 2015 Craig McMahon rated it really liked it
Julian May is a genius.

A genius with words: every other page has me reaching for a dictionary. Caracoles, anyone? Taboret? Gimcrack? Breechclout? What education produced such a voluminous vocabulary?

A genius at world-building. I gave up on the first book in the series after some flowery medieval-sounding language that sounded a little too "fantasy" for me (I've always thought myself the hard sci-fi fan) and yet here I am a couple of months after picking it up again in desperation, just finished
Nov 07, 2014 isab099 rated it it was amazing
I have re-read these for the first time in 20 years and am still in love with them. Now I know where those half-remembered characters that have haunted me for years came from.

May is a brilliant story spinner and devotes her entire talent to dialogue and tension, while the action seems to take a second place. At times May uses a very few words to leave a blistering image in your mind for all time. Be prepared re-read some passages many times to pick out all the detail and implications. Marc's att
I enjoyed this book, and thought the Pliocene Series was wonderful overall, but I definitely thought this book was the weakest of the four. In addition to losing so many interesting characters, I really wanted the book to end a different way. In fact, I had the ending I wanted to read all worked out in my head half-way through the second book (The Golden Torc), based on something early on in the first book (The Many-Coloured Land).



Simon Mcleish
Mar 19, 2012 Simon Mcleish rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in October 1998.

In the final book of the Saga of the Exiles series, the rebel metapsychic Marc Remeillard plays a large part; the title of the novel itself is one of his nicknames. His children, and the others of their generation, inhabiting the small settlement set up by the rebels, have gone to Europe, with the intention of setting up a copy of the time gate at the Pleistocene end so that they can return to the future. They were too young to have been invol
Mar 27, 2011 Andreas rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 24, 2016 Julián rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sad to finish this saga, but it was so awesome for me. I really really enjoyed this series. The book was excellent. Although, there were things not so clear for me, I liked it so much.
I would even dare to say, that similar to what I will do with The Lord of the Rings, I will continue reading this series after some years, and then again and again.
I recommend these books so much. It is sad that it is not so known. But I will spread the word.
Sep 02, 2012 Jim rated it it was ok
(view spoiler) ...more
Timothy Boyd
Jul 13, 2014 Timothy Boyd rated it liked it
An OK ending to the series. I had really hoped for more from this series knowing the reviews it gets. The entire series has great ideas and plots but they seem to just go up to a point and never achieve their potential. Not alot of action throughout and that makes the story sometimes drag. A nice blend of SiFi and Fantasy and tons of reference to Irish myth. Recommended
Jul 04, 2016 Markwoods rated it really liked it
Where do they get these terrible covers? A return to form, after book III was somewhat dry, IV comes roaring back. Sharn and Ayfa delicious. Marc begins to get interesting. An unusual type: a villain beginning to redeem himself. Aiken, now whole, becomes a more rounded character, but still with surprises. Not sure about Elizabeth falling in love. Would she?
Chris Branch
May 21, 2016 Chris Branch rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I was surprised at how much I had forgotten about this book. I have to admit that the lengthy subplots involving the misadventures of Tony Wayland and the climb up Monte Rosa were probably the least interesting part of the series for me, which may have contributed to its forgettableness. But this also may have made it even more enjoyable as a reread - for example, I didn't remember what happened to Basil when he reached the top of the mountain, so that was a nice surprise. And to be honest I did ...more
Matthew Ashby
Nov 06, 2014 Matthew Ashby rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A good ending to a decent series. The second one is my favorite and I feel that the cluster of characters only kept increasing even when other characters were dying. That being said, the author came up with an incredible setting and story. How everything comes together is unfortunately not as exciting.
Jul 15, 2016 FranklinTV rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Book One to Four of the saga of the Exiles - Good series start, then slowly flopped as it went on, but kept as it was probably the first real series book I read straight thru, and part of me wants to like it more than I do.
Alissa Gabriel
Jul 01, 2015 Alissa Gabriel rated it it was amazing
This series sparked my imagination like no other has since I read it two decades ago. Characters and plots are okay but something about the world May creates is just so captivating and wonderful. I loved these books!
Dec 23, 2013 Graham rated it it was amazing
Oh, I am so pleased I didn't chuck these books out. The Marc Remillard - Elizabeth - Aiken - Creyn relationships were written fantastically, the tension between Marc and Cloud and Hagan provided an interesting backdrop to the rebuilding of the Guderian device, the urbane calmness of Basil, the anachronistic Native American charm of Burke, the tragic love story of Tony Wayland and Rowane (well, I say tragic....), magic, science, language (where did Julian May get Anatoly's phrases from)
A rollicki
Everything comes to a head in this book. Aiken is consolidating his power as King, bringing together the Howlers, Lowlives and surviving Tanu. The Firvulag are keen to bring about the Nightfall war, but on their own terms, and the North American 'children' only want to return to the future. But Marc is a threat to them all and with powerful machines on his side, he may get exactly what he wants. This is the last book in the Saga and almost as enjoyable as the others. I was slightly let down by ...more
Jan 31, 2016 Carly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very strange, expansive final novel in the series. The various threads are brought together, in unexpected ways.
Ward Bond
Jun 25, 2012 Ward Bond rated it it was amazing
Product Description

The fourth and final volume of The Saga of Pliocene Exile.
Until the arrival of Aiken Drum, the 100,000 humans who had fled backward in time to Pliocene exile on Earth knew little but slavery to the Tanu -- the humanoid aliens who came from another galaxy. But King Aiken's rule is precarious, for the Tanu's twisted bretheren are secretly maneuvering to bring about his downfall. Worse -- Aiken is about to confront a man of incredibly powerful Talents who nearly overthrew a gal

Sep 24, 2016 Kim rated it really liked it
I liked the last book the best. I did get a bit annoyed at how much tech, and not small tech, managed to be smuggled through a machine that, tightly, could only take 4 people.
Mar 20, 2015 Jutta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
aw, bring romance into it.

read: spring 2011
read 7/2005
read: fall 1999
Alan Denham
Nov 06, 2012 Alan Denham rated it it was amazing
Shelves: just-paper
This is the fourth in the Saga of the Exiles. Do not try to read them out of order! The whole saga is an enormous work, four large volumes, and there are four more that form a sequel (The Intervention).

It would not be appropriate to review this separately (without inserting spoilers) so I shall refrain. Since it is essential that readers start with volume 1, go read my review of volume 1 here. Enjoy!
John Devlin
Mar 31, 2007 John Devlin rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 13, 2009 CD rated it liked it
The book almost fails as a story with the tie-in to the Intervention/Remillard Family Chronicles with the appearance of Marc.

May is juggling several themes and several get away from him and I have always felt that this book leaves the reader in an unfinished place.

I am a huge fan of a handful of Julian Mays works . . . this is not one that I find anywhere near as satisfying as an engrossing tale nor as as good read.
Mike S
May 06, 2009 Mike S rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-sci-fi
Very good writing, I wish I'd started with the first book in the series not long after I started, but I couldn't put it down. The characters really grow on you, the storyline is very nicely handled, and the author uses enough words I didn't know that I got into the habit of writing them down so I could look them up. This is a very interesting and imaginative story.
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. Marc Remillard, who led the great rebellion in the future and escaped through the portal, fights his children and Aiken Drum to try to prevent the building of a time portal back to the future. (The story of Marc Remillard and his family is told in the Great Milieu series)
May 10, 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.
Daniel Mihai Popescu
Jan 05, 2015 Daniel Mihai Popescu rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! Brilliant, excellent prose and amazing action. A science fiction fantasy!
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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 Nonborn King (Saga of the Pliocene Exile, #3)

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