Born to Exile/In the Red Lords Reach Critical Essays

Phyllis Eisenstein


(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Alaric is a fascinating character, an outcast with two wondrous talents. He continually struggles with a moral dilemma of how to use his teleportation talent, as well as often facing persecution because the world fears that talent or thinks it a sign of alignment with evil. He delights especially in his musical talent, enjoying entertaining others and discovering or creating new songs.

Alaric does not seek out confrontation with evil but unavoidably finds it during his travels in the world. Although initially he is likely to use his teleportation talent to flee from danger and evil, by the end of In the Red Lord’s Reach he has seemingly decided that some evil is so monstrous that it must be confronted and fought, even at the risk of the gravest danger. Even then, however, his conscience is troubled. Even though he did not personally kill anyone during the assault on the Red Lord’s castle, he sees the deaths as on his head. An exile, both literally and figuratively, from birth, Alaric repeatedly has the experience of temporarily seeming to find a place and companions or family for himself, only to determine that his true destiny is once again to walk alone.

Although Born to Exile was initially written in portions, as short stories, it stands up remarkably well as a unified novel. The depiction of the internal life of the family of teleporters is outstanding and memorable. In the Red Lord’s Reach is clearly a...

(The entire section is 562 words.)