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A Fading Sun: The Sunpath Cycle - Book One

Publisher: DAW Books, Inc.

A Fading Sun: The Sunpath Cycle - Book One follows the story of Voada Paorach, a woman who possesses the gift of seeing ghosts, or taibhse, as they are called in her language. She is a Cateni (think Celtic) woman, married to Meir Paorach, and together they are called the Hand of Pencraig and Hand-Wife, respectively (basically, the tax collector and his wife). Their village, Pencraig, is ruled by the Mundoan Empire, a people very different than the Cateni, and one that has made the Cateni people in the Southern region of Albann Deas subservient for decades, although there are free Cateni tribes in the Northern region of Albann Braghad.

Part of Voada's gift is that she can not only see ghosts, but she can help them on their way to the Sunpath, when they die but lose their way before arriving at Tirnanog (their version of Heaven). She soon realizes that her young daughter, Orla, also has the gift when both of them see a troubled and strange ghost in the temple that has many changing faces. This one doesn't seem to want help in moving on, but wants something much more. When Voada's husband dies and her world is turned upside-down, her only hope is to flee to Albann Braghad in the hopes of healing her wounds and being able to return to Pencraig stronger than before, so she can rescue her children, Orla and Hakan. Oddly, the weird ghost follows her.

She is initially taken in by Ceiteag, an old woman who enlightens her to the fact that she is actually considered a Draoi, one who can enter the spirit realm of Magh da Cheo and call upon her Anamacha, the collection of souls that attaches itself to a Draoi and allows them to channel tremendous power in the form of dangerous spells (remember the weird ghost?). Although Ceiteag teaches her much, Voada soon finds herself learning at the feet of Greum Red-Hand, the leader of the free Northern tribes, where she becomes a very powerful Draoi. She even discovers that the most powerful Draoi in Cateni history, Leagsaigh Moonshadow, resides among her Anamacha, and this woman went insane with power before she died, so Greum warns her not to ever interact with the spirit, lest she fall under its power and go mad herself.

While Voada is learning and healing in Albann Braghad, the Mundoan leaders are preparing an all-out war against the Northern tribes, to finally subjugate them all, under the command of Altan Savas, a formidable military leader, but also a man who was kind to Voada and Meir and seemed to be less prejudiced against the Cateni. Their target is Ban Cill, the sacred temple of the Cateni tribes located on an island called Onglse. It has never been touched by the Mundoan, but they aim to change that now.

As battles rage on and there are victories and defeats on both sides, Voada suggests that they should take back the undefended Southern region, while the Mundoan armies are fighting in the North. Greum doesn't see things her way, but Maol Iosa, a powerful Cateni warrior, agrees with Voada, who has become incredibly powerful in her own right, and together they embark on a journey to rescue her family and exact revenge on those who destroyed her life. What happens next is for you to discover on your own as you read A Fading Sun: The Sunpath Cycle - Book One. Just know that the story concludes powerfully and guides the reader right to the doorstep of the next book in the series, which should be very interesting indeed, based on the ending.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

Related Links:

Novel With Blood Upon the Sand: The Song of the Shattered Sands - Book Two

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