Better make a pot of coffee and get comfortable because you are not going to want to put this one down! The Light Stone, first novel written by Dennis A Kreiss, grabs your attention from the start. Much like other fantasy writers, such as Patrick Carr of A Cast of Stones, Dennis introduces the main character in a way that encourages you to be invested in the fictional life of an albeit less than perfect hero.
Almost from the very beginning, the author poses the main question and theme of the book which is, “Should I live for myself or for God and Country?” This is the real struggle that the main character, a 14 year old boy by the name of Sami, faces when he is placed far from home in a sort of finishing school for the spiritual nobility in the palace of the Kolhrim Klan. When Sami’s inclination to escape the palace leads to the deaths of two guards trying to protect him, I became less sympathetic to Sami’s plight. However, there is some foreshadowing that Sami will eventually mature from a Meghan Markle like character to a more self sacrificing noble such as Queen Elizabeth II.
By the third chapter we are introduced to Sami’s new-found love interest, a young girl named Vashni. We are never really sure of the allegiance of Vashni. Is she eventually to turn her friend in to his pursuers or will she continue to aid Sami in his escape even if it could mean disaster for the country of Empyrean. Only time will tell.
There are several similarities between biblical characters and the players in this book. For example, Ahriman, the most evil of all the nemesis, is known as the Lord of the Dark. In John Milton’s poem “Paradise Lost”, Satan is known as the Prince of Darkness. Ahriman runs the scaly hoards of the warrior clan the Fel’Stoi. One can imagine that this was based on the Philistines seen in the Bible as a thorn in the side to all the Hebrew people. There is a hint of the conspiracy theory of the Lizard People in the description of the Fel’Stoi as an alien-like race bent on the destruction of mankind. A person can even join up with the Fel’Stoi in exchange for worldly success, just as in the conspiracy theory.
The author manages to develop the backstories of even enemy characters in this book. This leads to more of an immersive experience in to this fictional world where each character has individual thought and motivation rather than being a two dimensional pawn in the author’s plot.
However interesting the novel is, it is also a very impressive read with over 600 pages in this story. I recommend tackling this one in sections as two or three books in a series. When I asked the author why he didn’t turn his book in to a trilogy, he responded with, “It is! I’m working on the second book now.”
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