Author: Eric Arvin
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Welcome to the Valley, a liminal landscape that lies somewhere in the fringes of the world; a place with such secret magic that only the very observant can see it. Into this world comes the Lone family. To them, the magic of the Valley is not at first apparent, at least not to all. But the youngest son Lucifer is the most open to the river’s pulse. He converses with the trees and an angel named Azrael, all the while being taught by the midwife Mother True to hone his talents. Meanwhile, Lucifer’s older brother Uriel rejects the valley altogether and, with the help of his lover—a raft boy named Roman—flees the place only to be caught up in the corrupt big city world of a madame named Ute Dragal.
And so begins a tale of wonder and danger, filled with a cast of characters ranging from the strong to the stoic to the sinister, in a place where a dark power awaits them all.
Venture again to the Valley in this prequel to Eric Arvin’s acclaimed epic The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men.
I’m not often rendered speechless, or in the case of writing a review, wordless, but this story is so unique and so elaborate and rich in detail that I believe I’m going to keep the review brief because I just can’t do the story justice in my current frame of mind.
I absolutely loved Eric Arvin’s magnificent and epic tale, The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men, and was looking forward to this story as something that might provide some further detail into the past of the “valley”. What I found is another magnificent tale that led me right to the doorstep of Mingled Destinies. This story is not as long as the original, and the style of presentation of the material, i.e. the background of many of the characters and places in the valley is different from the other story, but no less rich in detail.
I enjoyed the way the story was presented, the flavor of the early times of the valley, and the characters we got to know. I especially enjoyed meeting and coming to know and appreciate Mother True. Another area I enjoyed reading was of the origin of the chapel and the Preacher’s role in that period of time.
Sometimes I can be pretty clueless and I did not connect young Lucifer Lone with a key character in the other story until near the end of the book. I’m not sure if that was intentional by the author or if it was because I was swept up in details and just didn’t look at the big picture.
In any event, the story gave so much to its predecessor that I would highly recommend that everyone be sure to read both. One without the other is like a big bowl of ice cream without the chocolate sauce. Highly recommend.