In Feuerstein’s debut paranormal thriller, a young woman learns about her heritage, including special powers, as she’s tracked by government forces.
Morey Chance, 25, a wildlife photographer, is haunted. In a dream that’s recurred since her girlhood, she sees a shadowy woman tell her father that Morey “has the magic.” During a trip to British Columbia, a grizzly bear looks Morey straight in the eye and leads her to a hidden valley where bears are safe from humans. Then Morey’s archaeologist father, Francis, dies, and Morey returns home to her Aunt Katherine’s house on Maine’s Apoquaque Island. There, she learns startling truths about her mother and receives her “birthright”: a mysterious cylinder inscribed with strange symbols. A similar cylinder, discovered by her father, destroyed his career when it was deemed to be a faked ancient artifact. However, National Security Agency operatives are now eager to claim Morey’s cylinder, and they’re headed for Apoquaque. Meanwhile, Morey meets some island residents and an intriguing, attractive scientist named Hill, who’s studying the island’s ecosystem and expresses concern about an offshore oil rig. Morey finds that Hill’s presence feels “warm and good and wonderfully familiar,” and Hill is equally drawn to Morey. Not only that, she helps Morey discover more about her birthright and her mission. Soon, Morey undertakes a dangerous rite of passage as NSA agents close in. Feuerstein’s novel taps into a potent, poignant modern fantasy—a safe haven for the world’s endangered animals—and she does it without sentimentally tugging on readers’ heartstrings. Although the theme of discovering inherent, supernatural abilities is hardly new, Morey is an adult instead of an adolescent, which allows for more grown-up storytelling. Feuerstein captures her scenes and characters well, possessing a good eye for details: a dilapidated cabin, for example, is described as looking as if it “would be happier if allowed to lie down.” In fact, so much is done well in this novel that it’s surprising and unfortunate to see the hoary cliché of a villainous albino appear. However, the satisfying ending leaves room for potential sequels, which would be most welcome.
An absorbing, emotional tale with a strong hook for animal lovers.