In this fantasy, a woman journeys among archetypes through lucid dreaming, gaining wisdom to help her defy a dangerous tyrant.
In a time that predates the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia, a man named Ezra acquires skills and ideas from a portal, a desert well. The well gives him access to Ezra 2, who looks identical but lives in another galaxy; his people are highly advanced. Thanks to this guidance, Ezra’s achievements include inventing the wheel, the first human language, and various tools and weapons. Through a misunderstanding, his daughter Kora enters the well unshielded and is transformed, given great knowledge and a huge appetite for human suffering. Now calling herself Idolatra, she creates an army of human-animal hybrids to implement her cruel new world order, including “slavery…oppression, and organized religion.” Meanwhile, Ezra’s younger daughter, Niskala, becomes an inventor and healer, profiting from Ezra’s writings. At age 24, she falls sick, and her supposedly dead father appears, explaining that to understand her illness, she must practice lucid dreaming and encounter archetypical figures— including her shadow, a hero, a trickster, anima and animus, and a healer—to get a mandala that will lead her further. Over time, Niskala learns about her true self and her life’s mission, makes sacred vows to her helpers, and gathers wisdom until she’s faced with her hardest task of all: forgiving Idolatra. The framing story that starts off this novel isn’t exactly plausible; even Prometheus only stole fire, not (for example) the entire process needed to extract titanium. But once D’Abrel (Beyond the Wheel of History, 2018) begins Niskala’s journey, the fantastic elements fall more easily into place as a symbolic Jungian journey into the archetypal unconscious. The storytelling captures the authentic cadence of fairy tale or myth, as when Niskala repeats to her helpers: “My promise is sacred and I won’t ever break it.” These promises link to New Age ideas, such as positive visualization, animal welfare, and mindfulness, which will strike a chord in like-minded readers.
An engaging New Age adventure.