English Library 1984 (UK)
ISBN 0 450 05708 9
Ace 1985 (US)
|Funtopia review:||Earth is under the dominion of the Wasps, an alien race who pursue their own mysterious purposes and rarely interact with humans except through Protector Trenhyass, a hard-headed bureaucrat who, to preserve humanity from casual destruction by the Wasps, must keep the lid on political intrigues among the elite while stamping on subversion from the masses. Down in the gutters, though, forces are at work which will see the Wasps expelled from Earth, only to be replaced by a new set of alien overlords. Again, Farren drives his story along with some choice cultural archetypes medieval city life, Moses leading the tribes through the wilderness, the brutal clearing of the Warsaw ghetto, mass religious hysteria. The theme of mankind as hapless pawns in a vast alien power-struggle surfaces again in Their Masters War.|
|Other information||Check out Angus McIntyre's site, Other Worlds, which contains two beautiful graphical renderings of the scene in which Protector Trenhyass confronts the Wasps. The rest of the site's pretty good, too.|
|Author's comment||See Mick Farren's Collected Works.|
|Availability||Out of print, but both UK and US versions are fairly easily available from online booksellers.|
|Excerpt (by permission)||
AT THE prearranged signal, the drums of the Killers thundered out. The
sound rolled and echoed through the roots of the towers, it crashed and
rang from the walls of buildings and throbbed through tunnels and
conduits. There was no mistaking the drums of the Killers. These were not
the ordinary drums that beat out a rhythm for dancers or that played
before a performance of actors or jugglers. These drums were brutal and
violent. Their purpose was to spread a primitive terror, to drive all
before their relentless pounding. The Killers had brought their drums to
strike terror deep into the soul of all that heard them. The Killers'
drums were heralds of a terrible slaughter.
The Killers had dropped into the lowers in the quiet hours before dawn. The lowers were as close to silent as they ever were, sleeping off the drinking and dancing that had gone on twenty-four hours earlier. All through the previous night and well into the morning, the whole area had celebrated what was being hailed as a Gywannish victory over the Wasps. When the Killers arrived there were few still out and about to see them. The Killers came quietly but they came in force. They drifted down between the towers like formations of bats or black night-birds. The few drunks and street wanderers who spotted them fled in terror. There was no general alarm or warning. The Killers massed their forces at four central assembly points. Once they were in position and there had been no incident, they waited for the signal. Each assembly point had its own massive two-man war drum. The huge drums, nearly two metres across, hung in ornate frames that were decorated with centuries-old trophies and battle honours. There were those who said that the drum heads were made from human skin. Each individual drum was the symbol and sacred object of one of the four divisions of Killers. They were only brought out on solemn or serious occasions. Presumably someone had considered the purging of the lowers to be one of these. The Killers seemed to be treating their mission as some great cleansing of all that was corrupt about their species.
As well as the big war drums, each squad of Killers had a dozen or more
drummer boys who would march in front of them. The Killers' preoccupation
with the ceremony of drums was viewed by outsiders as less than healthy.
It was seen as an atavistic reaching back to a more savage, barbaric age.
It was as if the Killers believed that the grim throbbing would put them
beyond the confines of any civilised restraints on their use of power or
weapons. The throbbing of the drums would make them grow to fit their
name. The drums would make them Killers.