Geller tells the story of a boy whose otherworldly powers may liberate his nation in this debut novel.
Arol is a 16-year-old assistant at the Sacred Temple of Gennebar, where his people, the Gennebri, make offerings to their goddess, Gennesset, the Mother of the Universe. The earthquake-prone country of Gennebar is under occupation by the Drenarian Empire, which taxes and enslaves the local populace while propping up a Gennebri High Priestess of its own selection. Arol recently experienced a strange blip in time, when he was able to escape a lion because reality itself seemed to slow down around him. “It was moving so slowly I’m sure I could have reached out and plucked a feather from its wing,” he recalls of a nearby bird. “Yet it was flying—flying almost in place as if the air had frozen solid like ice and trapped it there!” With the help of his friend Zorn, Arol discovers from an ancient manuscript that time is composed of threads that can be manipulated by those who possess a rare mystical gift. Arol may be one of these hypothetical Weavers and, with the proper training, could learn to harness the power to change time and space. This information sets Arol on a path that will not only have great ramifications for his own life, but for the future—and freedom—of all of Gennebar as well. The sociopolitical dynamics of Gennebar bear more than a passing resemblance to first-century Palestine (Geller even winkingly borrows the place name Golgotha at one point), but the novel so successfully summons the pleasures of the sword-and-sorcery genre that the reader isn’t thinking of Jesus the Nazarene so much as Conan the Cimmerian. The rise of Arol from servant to savior is hardly new, but the vibrancy of Geller’s universe (finely detailed over the course of the tome’s nearly 1,000 pages) makes up for the inevitably familiar arc of the protagonist. Fans of fantasy should enjoy the thoughtfulness with which Geller approaches the genre while maintaining a tightly paced plot from beginning to end.
An epic fantasy tale set in an ornately crafted universe.