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