In this debut novel, a war between the immortal forces of good and evil stretches over millenniums.
Veitch and DeFazio concentrate their fantasy, the first in a trilogy, on the Atitalans, a select group of supernatural beings sent to Earth to guide humanity through its evolution toward the next “Great Year.” This is an epoch ushered in roughly every 26,000 years by a shift in the planet’s orbit. The Atitalans, known as Emissaries, are “the way-showers, laying clues for those who would reawaken as the Great Year ascended once again.” These beings, who originated in the ancient, idyllic civilization of Atitala, evolved through countless reincarnations over the ensuing centuries. The focus in these pages is on a small core group of Emissaries, in particular Marcus, Theron, and Helghul. The three, fast friends at first, eventually become inveterate enemies. Helghul turns to evil and begins pursuing Marcus and Theron through time, from a catastrophe that engulfs Atitala to the present day, when the enormous cycle of ages is once again drawing humanity down through the Silver and Bronze Ages to the dark Iron Age. As the evocative story extends to the present, the authors skillfully widen the narrative to include a young man named Quinn (described by one of his friends as “practically a monk”), the latest incarnation of the Emissary Marcus. Quinn is astonished when random chance reunites him with his soul mate, Theron. This first installment, though passionately and engagingly written, leaves the story in mid-momentum and therefore isn’t as point-by-point dramatic as the series as a whole presumably will be. Rather, the most powerful element of this volume is its depiction of the complexities faced by an Emissary, moving from life to life with incomplete memories of previous incarnations, only able to recognize one another’s distinctive auras at close range. “The Emissary knew,” the authors write, “that when he died, he would be reborn into another shell, a new body, another lifetime.”
A stirring first installment in a sprawling fantasy epic, ending on a pronounced To Be Continued note.