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Posted June 21, 2004
'A contemporary tale of a dark threat to an alien world...'
In a book of time-travel, blood-drinking dark lords, and aliens possessing a magic of the dance, we are introduced to yet another tale of good versus evil, in 'Through the Gate of Horn: The First Thread of the Dhitha Tapestry', by Alfred D. Byrd. The story surrounds a computer-repairman and part-time poet (Tim) who is belabored by mystical dreams of a dance, in which magic enables a strange gate to open into another world. Two other characters (Angie and Lisa) share with Tim the love of science fiction conventions, and will eventually lead Tim to the knowledge of this unseen world, and the magic it holds. In this first work in the series, Byrd¿s unseen world is gripped in the throes of good versus evil. It is organized in a medieval caste system¿frozen in time¿and in desperate need of goods from the modern age. Through telekinesis, both things for good and things for evil are moved into the positioning for an apocalyptic battle, to be climaxed in a later entry in this series. As is Byrd¿s style, character development is the strongest element of the work. Especially curious is the relationship between Tim's intellectual tersity, and Angie's gentle, timid soul. Complex characters¿and a more complex series of interwoven plots¿transport us between times and places as the story unfolds The work is an interesting admixture of science fiction, romance, contemporary magic, and geographical regionalism. It brings to mind the obvious influences of Tolkien and Stargate, Dune and Twilight Zone, Waterworld and Thunderdome. It is a curious blend of Judaism, Christianity, the occult, and romance. Its only weakness is the complexity of plot and place, yet such is the dilemma facing every author who must create in the first novel what he may develop later in the series. The inertia that slows 'Through the Gate of Horn' may well become the impetus that drives the rest of the series. Though complex, the story is nevertheless gripping. We are left wondering the resolve of Tim's initiation into the priesthood of this alien and anachronistic world. Moreover, what is to become of his relationship with Angie? Byrd masters the art of leaving us unsure we know his characters as well as we think we do. He skillfully weaves enough information into personalities for us to be surprised when we discover who they might be, may not be who they really are! Unlike Byrd's delightful first work 'Thistledown', I found 'Through the Gate of Horn' to require the reader's full attentiveness at all times. In the giving of such attention however, the reader is rewarded with precisely what Byrd intends¿an impatient curiosity of what will greet us in the subsequent novel due out later in the year. Because of the complexity, and due in no small part to my preference for the lighter reading of a quickly told tale (which was 'Thistledown'), I gave this novel four stars. This is no reflection upon the quality of Byrd's second work, but in fact, reflects the esteem in which I held his first one. RECOMMENDED.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 21, 2004
In Through the Gates of Horn, the author introduces us to a new, hidden, magical world. While the introduction of this world is not immediate, the reader is lead, wondering, into the realization that there is more in this universe than ever previously imagined. The story, as well as the vehicle of magic in the story, are a Fine Dance, indeed. The main character, Timothy, has troubling dreams. Through his acquaintance with Lisa and Angela, and a painting he stumbles upon at a Science Fiction convention, Timothy begins to learn the truths behind his dreams. The doors to another world are opened for him, and he meets several intriguing characters. He also learns that this other world may be threatened by a darker world, he is also in contact with. While on this journey of magical discovery, Timothy and Angela fall in love, and their relationship brings him completely into the fold of those trying to aid the good side of the other world. Eventually, it becomes necessary for Timothy to learn more of his abilities, and we are shown the direction he must take. It is in the journey and in the discovery of self that Timothy and the reader learn more than they ever thought possible. I found the plot of Through the Gates of Horn very intriguing. Complex, yet consistent, the author takes us into a world where the magical seems to be well explained, and logical. His characters are multi-dimensional, and likeable, but with hidden strengths and secrets we seek to more about. His story has left me waiting the second in the series. I want to know more about the characters, and the dark threat they seek to conquer. This story is very different from Mr. Byrd¿s first book, Thistledown. But in both, I find the love of poetry, the character of the protagonists, and the faith that good will overcome to be consistent. I will admit, I liked this story better, of the two. I can recommend this book to any adult seeking new magical worlds while still grounded in the realities we face.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.