It's that story again: unsophisticated adolescent boy, spunky, curious princess, large landscape for them to tour, troublesome deities, a magic sword. J. Gregory Keyes's knowledge of epics, myths, and human cultures is a solid foundation for his series, making it far better than the average product: a story that might have happened sometime between the Ice Ages when numinous deities still dwelled in every tree, rock, and pool. The detailed social structures and customs feel more authentic, though they're also familiar--the urban monotheists, the shamanistic horseback nomads, and so on. The writing is workmanlike, but the anthropological soundness and echoes of ancient stories give life and dimension to the old archetypes.|
The River flowed through all the land, deep and unstoppable, a god in his own right. His head was in the mountains; his arms embraced the outlands; his body lay at the core of all the civilized realms; and his legs stretched on to the distant sea. Dark and sluggish, he rolled unchallenged, dreaming his own invincible might and glory into stark reality.
Everywhere he touched, the River God held dominion. And in Nhol, the fabled city at the heart of the world, an emperor ruled as the living aspect of the god, presiding over the splendors and intrigues of a prosperous land and a glittering court.
Hezhi was an imperial princess; her blood carried the seeds of the River's power. When her favorite cousin disappeared, Hezhi searched throughout the sumptuous palace with its ghosts and priests, giants and courtiers, and frightening creatures of wizardry. And the magic within her began to grow; soon it must attract dangerous attention. Hezhi's anxious quest ripened into a desperate fight for her own life--a battle she could not hope to win alone.
Small wonder that the princess wished for a hero.
And far away, a hero's journey began...