A detail from Card’s Pastwatch was Kemel’s discovery of Atlantis. He discovered this highly advanced land was lost in the BIG FLOOD. After reading this book, my mom remarked that had also been Taylor Caldwell’s take on this land of legend. Soon after, I requested The Romance of Atlantis via Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
These days, folks refer to The Romance of Atlantis as a work of Fantasy or Science Fiction. As the preface states, Ms. Caldwell wrote this novel when she was twelve years of age. Her granddad ran a publishing company but he wouldn’t take this novel. Instead, he accused the young Taylor of plagiarism, incredulous that a girl could write a book chock full of adult situations. The novel wasn’t published until 1975 with the help of Caldwell’s friend Jess Stearn. Caldwell based the novel of a dream she had nightly for two years. Ultimately, Caldwell believed this was what happened to her in a previous life. (Don’t give up on me, readers! This work was published as fiction.)
Young, beautiful, intelligent Salustra takes the scepter of the advanced civilization of Atlantis from her dying father. This is a very advanced land roughly the size of North America. People there enjoy air conditioning, indoor plumbing, and know about atom splitting. People can visit rejuvenation chambers and come out vitalized.
Yet, Salustra also inherited a decadent people whom she holds in contempt. Lately, the a/c isn’t working and people are getting cranky. Additionally, the practically barberous Althrustri kingdom to the North of Atlantis wants Salustra’s hand in marriage. Bad omens pop up everywhere. How will Salustra meet her fate and the fate of the people?
This is an impressive work for a twelve year old to have written. This is my first reading of anything by the late, prolific Caldwell. Salustra and her Atlantis are well conceived. However, I really didn’t like the characters much. Once I overcame marvelling at the wonder of the ancient land of advancement, I found the characters lackluster. I wasn’t even sure I cared for them. Did I even want to see these folks make it beyond the back cover?
Places: Atlantis, Althrustri
- Rejuvenation Chamber
Two Out of Five Pearls