Unlike many fantasy stories, Lorina Stephens’ “From Mountains of Ice” tells more than just a single narrative centering around a hero or group of adventurers in a magical world. Stephens tells the stories of Simare, an Italian country struggling to keep its simple rustic way of life free from the encroachment of larger countries and a crown’s tyranny. The understanding of cultural nuances serves as a foundation for the struggle of main characters.
Sylvio di Danuto comes from an old noble family and spent many years as advisor to his king and mentor to his prince. He also possesses the unique Simirian abilities of a ‘bone speaker’, a person who can commune with deceased ancestors through their remains. Sylvio and his family, friends and comrades must contend with the negligence and abuse of their country and kingdom by the young Principe Carmello. Political powers and the spirits of the ancestors arise in anger as the young ruler seizes power by pushing away, and yet never truly letting go of, Sylvio and others who would impede his hedonistic drive and approach to leadership. Sylvio realizes that he must act if his country and everything he loves should survive.
Stephens’ tale takes her reader through an exploration of the bonds between love and hate, darkness and hope, and the power of resilience that leaves an impression as lasting as Simare’s “mountains of ice”. The concept of a “bone speaker” stretches one’s imagination to go where it normally does not go to in every day life unless you are into these kinds of beliefs. This reviewer went there in her imagination and found she is quite pleased as to the way the author introduces this portion of the story and found it quite intriguing.
*** 3.5 Stars
Sara Messina – Reviewer
Mind Fog Reviews