In this final fantasy-series installment, Hugus (Plant Speech, 2011, etc.) brings another of her Children of the Earth into focus as a final battle against their elemental adversary approaches.
Katarina “Kaya” Contigas is a Peace Keeper, living in Chicago with her housemates, Lisbeth Moore and Thomas McCarthy. Each possesses a powerful gift from Mother Earth, with whom they communicate regularly, hoping to foil the machinations of the jealous, powerful Earth scion, Ashlinn. A restaurant chef by day, Kaya has the ability to heal wounds and sickness, and she does so frequently for neighborhood animals. When Shadeed Qureshi, a doctor living in southern Chile, contacts her via mail and telephone, she learns that her powers aren’t as secret as she’d like. Kaya agrees to join the attractive doctor in Chile as he combats a mystery ailment affecting people there, even as Lisbeth—who’s psychically sensitive to storms and earthquakes—suspects that Ashlinn is again manipulating humanity through global warming. In Chile, Kaya lives with Shadeed and goes with him to remote Andean villages to help the diseased. While assisting, however, she discovers that each healing forcefully drains her own vitality and requires her to rest. She and Shadeed inevitably grow closer, but a violent confrontation with Ashlinn threatens to break the bonds shared by all Children of the Earth. In this latest Peace Keeper adventure, Hugus fashions a narrative that’s unique to Kaya, just as she did for Tom and Lisbeth in the previous two novels. She captures the vibrant Chilean environs, such as when “a gorgeous display of brown earth and grey rock [is] defiantly visible through the white snow.” The system of Peace Keepers is explained clearly to refresh readers, who learn that they all have different levels of power, with Ashlinn, unfortunately, at the top of the pyramid. Although Shadeed is a perfectly irresistible catch, his and Kaya’s romance occurs organically, and they sound the depths of their relationship with questions such as, “Why are we who we are instead of someone else?” Readers may wish to see more of the villain, though, as Ashlinn truly doesn’t appear in earnest until the last act.
A rewarding, though brief, finale to the Peace Keeper trilogy.