Sunday, June 6, 2010
From Mountains of Ice by Lorina Stephens
This historical fantasy sweeps the reader into an Italian fantasy world set in the time of the Renaissance. At the center of this tale is the tiny kingdom of Simare. Sylvio di Danuto is a respected nobleman, the much respected family friend and advisor to Simare’s king. Sylvio possesses the ability to commune with the dead whenever he holds a human bone in his hand. Hence he is known as a “bone-speaker”. He makes bows of bone and many who hold the bows believe the spirit of the dead speak to them.
Through a strange twist, the king is usurped by his son, Prince Carmello. The brash youth strips Sylvio of his ancestral home and lands, banishes Sylvio, and then proceeds to neglect the country and rule with cruelty and greed. After many years, for unknown reasons, the Prince summons him back to Simare. Cautiously he returns, but soon finds his life is in grave danger.
Lorina Stephens pens a fascinating historical fantasy, but it is much more than a tale of adventure. It is a classic battle against good vs evil and the ability of one man to overcome adversity against an insane, power-driven ruler. The Italian setting gave it a sense of realism, which I very much enjoyed. The author’s writing style is lyrical and emotive, making the story enjoyable and credible with its vibrant descriptions and introspection. In essence, this is a grand story, richly told.