The conflicts of an ancient mystical kingdom erupt in the modern world.
At the beginning of the latest novel from Greenaway (Dream Chaser, 2009), cataclysm is engulfing the ancient magic city of Az’Rayelle in the kingdom of Ruberah, but its headstrong princess, High Priestess Li’ram, can think only of her love for Da’krah, prince of the Emerald Kingdom—and of the power they both sought to exercise over the magic forces that guard their realm against the Dark Master, ruler of the underworld. Li’ram hates herself for her irresponsibility and exacts a promise from the sacred River Spirit that one day, far in the future, her soul be given a chance to redeem itself. When the book’s action shifts forward thousands of years, we find another headstrong young woman, 15-year-old Princess Tamara, rebelling against her duty. When she defies her people’s customs in order to befriend two giants, her father sentences her to a most unusual punishment: “You will be a river,” her father says, “A river made of your own tears, and you will fill this divide for all time to be.” But since Greenaway’s narrative tells us the “history of everything that has ever happened on Earth resides in the Cycles of Time,” it’s no surprise that the story jumps forward another few thousand years to the present day, in which young American lovers Mitch Devere and Miriam Lewis are driving to an inn in Cornwall when Miriam has a mystical vision. An ethereal Tamara, who is watching the couple, senses Miriam has the aura of Ruberah. Tamara has sworn not to use her sorcery to directly change the actions of others—their destinies are their own to set—so she can only watch and meddle while Miriam becomes a focal point not only for the resurgent memories of long-lost Ruberah, but also for the reawakening desire of the Dark Master to gain control of Ruberah’s ancient powers and rule the world. Although they are deeply entangled in these ancient dramas, Miriam and Mitch (who’s carrying the spirit of Da’krah, though he doesn't know it) are also the focus of a sorcery-fueled romantic-triangle plot of their own, which is energetically handled. Greenaway juggles the many strands of her lushly descriptive book with ease, managing to bring all of these characters, from all their separate time periods, together in a rousing climax that invests just as much energy in high fantasy as modern romance, with winning results.
The richly imagined story of a modern woman bearing ancient responsibilities.