|Submitted by Cloaked Writer |
(May 16, 2005)
Christine Jones, an Australian author, brings you her first novel: Mariard Volume 1 The Gifting—a fast-paced and action-loaded read full of unexpected twists.
Never have I come across such a strong-willed woman as Artemis, the old priestess who is driven to hold on to her power, and even after her physical death she continues to play an important role by asserting herself and determining events in the story!
The unchaste “Don Juan” Marcale who is supposed to become king, in the hour of truth, is seen as unfit because of his sexual impurity, and must meet his demise in a repentant frame of mind.
When Artemis feels her own death approaching, she almost begs Vieanne, the beautiful daughter of a king, to assume her position, and in agonizing conflict and reluctance, she takes on this huge responsibility which alters her life, drastically. She has little choice but to forsake her love, the dashing Simon, and devote her life on training and preparing her two gifted children—whom she mysteriously conceives without a physical man—for their kingdom’s survival which will heavily depend on her children’s highly developed supernatural gifts.
Young Malcom one day in his carefree wanderings discovers Tegan, Vieanne’s young daughter, in a hidden room in a cave where she, her brother and mother live in isolation. From that day on, the two become friends, nurturing their friendship by meeting without Vieanne ever knowing since she’s so preoccupied.
I love the romance that emerges between Malcom and Tegan, the secret wedding that Nathanial(Tegan’s brother) helps to materalize, the “mind games” that transpire suddenly among the rivaling gifted characters from the two kingdoms, Cathmore who’s supposed to be wickedly depraved but yet demonstrates his true hidden colors of tender kindness, and betraying his evil kingdom when he finally joins forces with Mariard.
Vieanne soon realizes that between her two gifted children, Tegan is the weaker one, and thus, she is vexed by the continuous confirmation of this fact, while her son Nathanial exceeds her expectations.
During an atomic-like explosion that rocks both kingdoms and forces the war to a temporary standstill, Vieanne is knocked unconscious, suffers a fever, and which somehow sparks an inner battle of herself against the spirit of Artemis who has all this time been dominating her soul and personality with hers. Eventually Vieanne wins and expels Artemis’ ghost.
As the story further progresses, it grows increasingly explosive, intense, faster-paced, and events occur more unexpectedly. The final showdown between the two rivaling kingdoms is clearly approaching when the fate of the world will be determined.
Christine Jones portrays her characters as real people with passions, ambitions, hatred, and thinking and reacting to the horrors of war and how it drains them. She further builds credibility and concreteness in her story by describing realistic details of military weapons such as guns, tanks, and aircrafts, the smoking and battered battlefield, the slain, and the vast destruction claiming its toll on both warring kingdoms.
In addition, Jones constantly energizes her narration and resuscitates her characters through very believable and well-crafted dialogue. I kept asking myself after the end of each chapter: “what happens next?” You have to read it to fully understand what I mean! Reviewed by CloakedWriter, Inc., author of Helldom(coming in the future)