Far in the future, there are no remnants of human life left. In a distant solar system, the uplifted elephant-like species of Barsk, the Fant live out their daily lives excluded from the many other uplifted species. However, Barsk is the only planet that can grow the plants for a variety of medicinal drugs. One drug, called koph helps those with the talent of Speaking to interact with the dead. Jorl is a Fant who is a Speaker and a historian who has specialized in the prophesies of the Matriarch. Jorls often Speaks to his best friend, Arlo and helps to take care of his son, Pizlo. While Speaking, Jorl notices that he cannot connect with several Fant's that have just passed, this knowledge combined with some interesting visions that Pizlo has begun to see, causes Jorl to believe that he is part of one of the prophesies.
Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard is a unique fantasy that pulled me into a different world. This is a story that you have to allow yourself to go with the flow and immerse yourself into the world of Barsk. The inhabitants of Barsk and the other worlds are all mammals that have been somehow integrated with human thought process, language and emotions while still having traits of the animal they originated from. This made for an interesting conflicts between beings as well as a mystery as to why everyone else disliked the Fant. Since there was so much going on, I focused on Jorl and his insights as well as Pizlo. Pizlo was the most intriguing character for me. He is an outcast, since he was born to parents who were not fully bonded. Fant- besides his mother and Jorl ignore Pizlo, however Pizlo seems to have the greatest sense about what is going on with Barsk and those who are after its resources. Once Jorl and Pizlo begin to investigate the issues with the dead, things get complicated. The draw of koph has pulled in many other inhabitants from around the galaxy and they are not about to play nicely. Tensions rise as Speakers try to draw out knowledge from deceased Fant as well as almost deceased Fant. From here the story got very political and could easily relate to many trade situations happening on Earth. Pizlo's character added the elements of innocence and fantasy to keep the story on track for me. The ending also surprised me with what they were all hiding. Overall, a distinctive fantasy that has a lot to offer.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.