In this debut fantasy novel, vengeance drives a deathless witch and her cursed son across the ages in search of the missing pieces of a magical tablet.
Deftly seesawing between pre-Columbian America and 1938 New Mexico, Cordry’s action-packed thrill ride boasts an extraordinary universe populated with everything from mighty pterodactyllike creatures to sexually aggressive desert nymphs (“ ‘Say my name again,’ she pleaded, thrusting shoulders forward to push her breasts together. ‘I like it when you say my name’ ”). The trouble starts when a woman named Rooshth gives birth to a strange, frightening demon child that spooks the residents of her tribal village to their cores. Convinced that the child is bad news, the village elders decide to excise the boy from their midst with a cleansing infanticide. It’s the wrong move, however, as Rooshth (also known as “Lonely Mother”) isn’t the kind of woman to let something like that happen. Defying the gods themselves, she proceeds to murder everyone involved in the plot. Escaping north, she’s determined to find the cure for her infant son’s offensive affliction. In this enchanted world, however, her quest begins to stretch out across eons. Cordry’s strong, vigorously told narrative melds this ancient world with that of the 20th century, where two devoted pals unknowingly hold the key to Lonely Mother’s odyssey. The author parallels this central drama with the story of the “quetz’al”—giant reptilian flyers who share an uneasy bond with the people of New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon. Tribesmen, granted dominion over the terrible creatures by the gods, use them as the ultimate air force against any and all enemies. But when a small band of quetz’al decides to cap off a feast of bison with human flesh, they inadvertently cross paths with Rooshth and son, and all hell breaks loose. Overall, this unusual mix of elements results in a highly imaginative action-adventure yarn featuring vivid, gory action scenes (“Unaware of the blood pouring from the back of his skull, he stood on his knees, wobbly and clutching his chest”).
A dark, engaging fantasy tale.