Myst: The Book of D'ni
|Release Date||November 1997|
|Preceded by||Myst: The Book of Ti'ana; Riven: The Sequel to Myst|
Myst: The Book of D'ni is the third book in the series of Myst novels, after the Book of Atrus and the Book of Ti'ana. The events of the book occur after the events of Riven but before the birth of Yeesha.
The Book of D'ni probably has the least cohesiveness of the three published books; major contradictions show up regarding events depicted in the previous novels. Cyan was in the midst of meeting deadlines for Riven while The Book of D'ni was in progress and did not devote as much time into proofreading and editing it as much as they desired. David Wingrove weaves a compelling yarn, but it gets muddled toward the end and engages in a level of descriptive violence not characteristic of the Myst games nor previous books.
Many readers feel the ending is unclear to the point that one is not sure where certain groups of people end up. However, this book reveals extensive amounts of D'ni lore and history: by reading The Book of D'ni, the fan is introduced to the protocol used by the Guild of Maintainers in linking to unknown ages. Also, the reader begins to realize the opportunities for the vast reach of D'ni culture throughout the universe and time.
The book description reads:
- The ages of Myst are worlds of adventure and awe; of mystery abd beauty; of intrigue and betrayal. You have seen a glimpse of the images, and know the histories of Catherine, Atrus, and Ti'Ana. Now, take a step further into the fictional legend and origins of Myst.
- These pages are your link to the story of Eedrah, son of Jethhe Ro'Jethhe, lord of Terahnee—Eedrah's ethereal homeland. Atrus and Catherine set out to rebuild D'Ni and stumble into his world of spectacular waterfalls, lush fields, rich music, and astonishingly beautiful architecture. Everything is perfect, this is a world they could scarcely imagine. But when a boy gets sick, only a prophecy and some fate can shape Terahnee's destiny.
- Myst: The Book of D'ni is a tale of one man against a powerful legacy; of integrity against corruption; and of love and valor. It is the story that has been kept secret for thousands of years. And with good reason, for you will watch as the unthinkable comes to light, and only one man's life and vision is the key to salvation of a culture.
The Book of D'ni is divided into eight parts (each preceded by a prophecy relating to the Ronay) preceded by a prologue and followed by an epilogue with each segment within those parts divided by the same D'ni number symbol for 25 ( | ) that decorates the front cover of the book. The parts are briefly summarized as follows:
Seventy years after the Fall of D'ni, Atrus has recruited a crew of young people from the Age of Averone to help him break through the door of his prison chamber on K'veer in D'ni. By doing so, he gains access to the Cavern and prepares to begin the task of rebuilding and searching for survivors.
The crew of young people is given permission to return to D'ni with Atrus and Catherine and assist them in searching for and recovering linking books containing possibly viable ages. Atrus wants to search the ages for survivors of D'ni's fall to see if there are any who would be interested in returning to D'ni. Among their able and enthusiastic helpers from Averone are Marrim, Carrad, and Irras. Atrus draws detailed maps of the districts at this time to organize the searches. They set up their work camp in the harbor, but Atrus and Catherine sometimes return to Chroma'agana to work. During this time, Atrus also researches Gehn's journal, especially the legends and prophecies Gehn noted that might lead to some discoveries. Eventually the Age of Bilaris is found in a house that looks like it's been wiped clean of the plague residue (see Myst: The Book of Ti'ana) by previous visitors. However, they only find an abandoned village when they visit it.
Further searches result in the death of one team member due to a wild animal attack; however, there are also successes. They locate Master Tamon and his colony on one age, and then Esel and Oma from the Age of Bilaris turn up in D'ni to join in the effort to rebuild. Esel and Oma are historians and are able to provide descriptions of how things were before the Fall.
The harbor front colony grows to a population of 1200 inhabitants. The teams search twelve remaining ages, working out of the Guild of Maintainers laboratory and using special precautions to gauge an age's safety and viability. They locate two more groups of survivors including the ancient Master Tergahn. Master Tamon is in charge of excavating the Guild House and discovers a huge chamber under the floor. There is a circular door at one end, and using equipment run by Master Tergahn, they are able to determine if there is space on the other side. This leads to a hallway filled with books written in a foreign, but familiar, script. A second chamber contains a linking book to another chamber. Tergahn warns Atrus not to pursue the matter further, but the link is made, the door in the second chamber excavated, and they discover a ruined temple, stars sparkling through its broken roof.
The next day, Atrus returns with provisions and a team of explorers. The temple is on a plateau from which they can see a glorious landscape of cultivated fields and towering cities. Taking precautions, they build a lift to the valley, and travel toward one of the great houses. On a canal they meet Hadre, a Terahnee native who seems blind to their presence until they mention they are from D'ni. They are invited to his father's house and from this point on experience the many delights of Terahnee. The inhabitants of Terahnee are hospitable, educated, and cultured, and Atrus begins to entertain the idea of bringing the D'ni to live with them. He is summoned to meet the king, Ro'Eh Ro'Dan, with Eedrah, brother of Hadre, as their escort.
Atrus is greatly impressed by the king and asks if he may bring his people to Terahnee. When the king learns of D'ni's fall, he is relieved because the prophecies spoke of a civilization being poisoned and they had assumed it was their own. When Atrus and his party arrive at Eedrah's estate, there is a dinner, and one guest speaks of the "unseen". Atrus is told that the "bookworlders" are unseen because they cannot write Ages. They are called the "beast people," not to be confused with the bahro of D'ni. Atrus falls into sharp disagreement with Eedrah's father Jethhe Ro'jethhe when he tells them that his grandmother and Catherine are bookworlders and they can write. They are ordered to their rooms, but Eedrah comes later and takes them to see these "relyimah". It is revealed that they are actually slaves from ages that the Terahnee have written and have been trained to remain as invisible as possible. Eedrah, who has compassion for these beings, leads Atrus and Catherine to the slave quarters where a relyimah boy has taken ill.
The next day, the sickness turns into a devastating plague with the slaves, and the stewards who control them, fleeing the households. Most of the Terahnee die and many of the slaves die as well. Catherine, who has been working very hard, isolates the cause, and discovers they (Atrus and his company) are responsible for passing on harmless stomach bacteria for which the inhabitants of Terahnee have no immunity. Eedrah gets sick and recovers while the rest of his family dies. The countryside falls into chaos as the D'ni try to help the slaves recover.
A meeting is called to organize the slaves. Ymur, a rebellious slave, argues for wiping out all the remaining Terahnee, while a wise ancient wants to hear how Atrus from D'ni can help them. Ymur remains deaf to the ideas of Atrus until a small boy, who Atrus rescued from the plague, chants a prophecy, which is fulfilled by Atrus committing that act of kindness. Atrus provides the relyimah with a code of law similar to what was used in D'ni, and Catherine tries to solve the problem of male and female slaves learning to socialize (they have previously been kept separate). Gat and Atrus go to the capital to bury the last king of Terahnee. While there news comes that the stewards (who were the middlemen between the Terahnee and the relyimah) have come from their home world to take over Terahnee and subjugate the slaves again. Ymur is given the task of defeating them, but he becomes more power hungry with each victory. He condemns the D'ni to death and defeats the first army sent against him by the elders. Sending Uta, the boy Atrus saved, to the capital, he demands that Atrus be handed over if the elders wish to stay alive. When Atrus comes with an army to fight Ymur, he finds the camp abandoned and both Ymur and Uta dead, Uta having sacrificed himself to kill Ymur.
A new age is written for the D'ni (now known to be Releeshahn) and they make preparations to leave Terahnee. Eedrah and Marrim are married and join Atrus in Releeshahn, and the link between Terahnee and D'ni is sealed forever.
An excerpt from a history that Catherine is writing discusses the prophecies and their current circumstances. She makes an observation that the Prophecies might be rooted in the Great Art, linking Time to Time.<ref name="talesD">
The book description contains many mistakes:
- It states that The Book of D'ni is the story of Eedrah, but in actuality he has only a small role in the plot;
- "Ti'ana" and "D'ni" are incorrectly spelled "Ti'Ana" and "D'Ni", respectively;
- It says that the story has been kept secret for thousands of years, but, in fact, it was less than 200 years.
Near the end of the novel, Atrus tells the relyimah that the D'ni never had slaves, but it is now known that the D'ni used the bahro as slaves; however, it is possible that Atrus was unaware of this fact.