A New Beginning

The updating process has begun. Check out the link above for my new book, Tyrian!

small for online use Tyrian final cover image

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Another Look at Draegnstoen and Highland King

Draegnstoen and Highland King are two halves of a multi-generational family saga.

A single family member bridges the two stories – Frydissa.

The sister of one king and mother of another, her unwavering determination and support helped secure the peace in two different kingdoms.

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A Review of The Infinity Mantle

The Infinity Mantle – by Elaina Davidson

The Infinity Mantle is the third novel I’ve read by Elaina Davidson, the first two being stand alone titles, The Tinsal Deck, and Ilfin of Arc.  The Infinity Mantle is different, the first book in a Tetralogy called Lore of Arcana. The subsequent books are The Kinfire Tree, The Drowned Throne, and The Dragon Circle. And if that weren’t an ambitious enough project, it is just the first of three tetralogies, the other two being Lore of Reaume, and Lore of Sanctum. In addition, there are related short stories.

I mention the above because the epic scope of this work is impressive; a twelve-book series of high fantasy, taking place on worlds that stir the imagination. 

Every chapter begins with an epigram. Some are humorous or quirky, others are profound, and each is attributed to a fictional text that is part of this universe. It’s always pertinent, and  adds a great depth to a universe that already feels so very real.

The Infinity Mantle takes place on multiple worlds, primarily Valaris, over a vast period of time. There are so many ideas explored here, but the story is never rushed, just patiently laid out, layer upon layer. Many different cultures interact with each other. Some of those encounters reflect humanity at our best; others at our worst. At one point we learn the origin story of Valaris and how later explorers of this planet claimed this world for themselves

“Discovery does not mean ownership,” Saska states. Rayne of the Mantle answers, “Perhaps we humans should harken to that.” It reminds us of our own history, echoing the ‘discovery’ of the New World by Europeans.

Another facet Davidson adds are names and titles derivative of Valaris. The original people are the Valleur. The title of their leader is Vallorin, and the name of the one holding that title now is Vannis. All these things make us feel we are reading a work of historical fiction and Davidson instinctively understands these careful details are necessary. When we read stories that take place on earth, we may already be familiar with some aspects of culture. But on a different world, in a different time and place, these things are important to know.

This is the story of journey of a group of fourteen different members, bringing unique strengths, from different societies, cultures and species, who embark on a quest to solve various puzzles. It’s part of  a perverse game that holds their world hostage to a threat of invasion by beings from another dimension.

It’s a story of inspiration and reminds us that although truth is often learned from external sources, it’s also something that comes to us on a more personal level.

Dreams are real; dreams exert influence ~ Anonymous Valarian sage –  is the epigram from Chapter 4. The characters in this story learn much from dreams, and one character, Averroes, realizes at one point, “There are no rules in dreams.” That was an epiphany to me.

It’s is a story of conflict; of those who want peace and prosperity battling against those forces who would bring greed, chaos and darkness. It’s a great adventure.

And lastly, it’s a story of friendship, loyalty, alliances, and trust. Amazingly, Davidson juggles three different protagonists, Taranis, Vannis, and Rayne of the Mantle. It’s different, but it works, and we’re excited to have these three all on the same side, knowing how powerful they are together.  Some of the fourteen have minor roles, but they are all well drawn, fleshed out and three dimensional.

As I said at the beginning, this is the first of twelve books. I’m sure there is much more to learn of this world and its characters. We feel a part of this quest and we care about the outcome. Davidson invites us to continue and I accept the invitation. The adventure has barely begun.

Five out five stars, without question. Available on Amazon.com

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Excerpt from The Queen of Iceland

While doing research for a new book called “The Queen of Iceland,” I was reading the Laxdaela Saga and learning more about the main character, Gudrun. I decided I wanted to give her some sort of animal to be her protector. That idea is not mentioned in the saga, but it made for a more interesting story.

One idea came to mind, a gyrfalcon. I remember reading about these amazing birds years ago. Would this work? After more research, I was satisfied. Yes. The concept fit within Norse mythology, and the gyrfalcon was the national bird of Iceland. It’s the largest falcon, and one of the fastest.

Early in the story, Gudrun is shown her destiny. The coming years will be difficult and challenging. She sits on a large rock on the beach, contemplating all of this, and her great aunt, Unn the deep minded, appears.

Unn tells Gudrun she has many gifts that will serve her well, enabling her to excel in spite of her trials. This comforts the young woman, but then Unn warns her that cunning men will try to exploit her abilities for their own means. Gudrun is troubled anew, but then Unn promises another gift. A white gyrfalcon.

“I give you now a lifelong companion. Hold out your arm.”

Up in the sky, there was a screech and a white blur as the gyrfalcon pulled its wings close and dove, at the last moment seeming to pause in mid-air as it fluttered and gently settled on Gudrun’s arm, just above her elbow. The bird’s stare was intense and it did not look away.

The girl grinned. “She’s beautiful. Thank you, aunt Unn.”

Unn nodded. “What will you call her?”

Gudrun studied the falcon. “Vor.”

“Named for a goddess: The aware and careful one. Well chosen, child. And now, know this. She will stay with you throughout an entire day if you wish, but when the evening comes, release her to the sky. If you need her again that day, she will return. To summon her, simply say her name. Even if you whisper it, she will come.

“She will surely be your protector, from today, until the very last day of your life. Her mortality is limited only by your own. She is impervious to harm, whether by man or beast.”

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For the Birds

This blog is primarily for my writing, but sometimes I will come upon related topics. That is the case here. There are many interest birds in the world, but I ran across several I’d never seen before. I wonder if you knew of these?

Top Row: Hamerkop, Shoebill Stork, Vulturine Guinea Fowl.
Middle Row: Royal Spoonbill, Cape Sugarbird, Long Tailed Widowbird
Bottom Row: Bee Hummingbird, Nicobar Pigeon

To me, the Hamerkop and Shoebill Stork look like cartoons turned into reality. I had seen the Shoebill before but included them because they were so unique. I’d heard of the Bee Hummingbird before but never seen a picture.
Top Row: Cassowary, Crested Auklet, Hoatzin
Middle Row: Hyacinth Macaw, Long Wattled Umbrellabird, Temminck’s Tragopan
Ribbon Tailed Astrapia, Six Wired Bird of Paradise

I’d heard of the Cassowary but don’t recall seeing a picture. There are various kinds of Macaws, but this was the first time I’d seen a bright blue one.

The reason I learned about these unusual birds? I was doing research for a new book. In the story, the main character is given a falcon to watch over her. And that research led me to the above serendipity. Stayed tuned for the post about the falcon in the story!

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