Aisling, Book 2: Dreamby Carole Cummings
What begins as Constable Dallin Brayden escorting the prisoner Wilfred Calder back to Putnam quickly turns into a flight for both their lives. Political betrayal and malicious magic lurk behind every bush and boulder in their flight across the countryside, resulting in Dallin becoming more protector than gaoler, and fostering a growing connection between him and his… See more details below
What begins as Constable Dallin Brayden escorting the prisoner Wilfred Calder back to Putnam quickly turns into a flight for both their lives. Political betrayal and malicious magic lurk behind every bush and boulder in their flight across the countryside, resulting in Dallin becoming more protector than gaoler, and fostering a growing connection between him and his charge. Haunted by dreams not his own and pursued by just about everyone, Dallin begins to understand that he's not just protecting Wil out of duty anymore. As the shadow of Wil's previous life as a captive and tool continues to loom, the shadow of the man who kept him prisoner looms larger. Forced into a terrifying battle of both will and magic for not only his life, but his soul, Wil discovers that the Aisling is sought by more powerful enemies than the Guild and the Brethren: ancient gods and soul-eating spirits seek what lives inside him as well. And it seems his only salvation may well be Dallin and his goddess, the Mother, against whom Wil has been warned all his life.
- Torquere Press
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*HERE THERE BE SPOILERS* "Aisling: Dream" is the second part of marvelous epic story about a fascinating world and the engaging and complex characters, and deities, which populate that world. "Dream", being the second book in a trilogy, doesn't suffer from it, but stands, if not alone, then firmly in its place, satisfying completely and yet keeping the reader wishing for the last book, due out in December. We get a good deal more here of world-building than we had in the first book, Carole holding back a lot of details there in order to show these two fabulous characters - Dallin and Wil - coping with exactly that same situation - not knowing enough either about each other or about their own predicament until circumstance and dawning respect gradually brought growing trust and eventually - friendship. In the second book, delightfully, we also get even more of the developing relationship between Dallin and Wil. What I really love about Carole's writing is the way that she weaves humor into what could be a very dark story. Wil, especially, with his tormented past, is an old soul with the heart of a child and his humor reveals that childlike quality. For example, when upset with Dallin, Wil thinks of him as "Stupid-picky-bossy Constable Brayden" and when trying to cope with his own physical weakness after a devastating, and nearly fatal, incident thinks of himself as "Swooning. Swooning. Like a.like a.swooning.thing." Watching their relationship gradually build as they make their way cross country and hide out in the cellars of the Temple, is delightful. This exchange is a good example of the banter between these two: "I thought I was a vicious little sh*t," he muttered. "You are," Brayden said simply ."But you say it like it's a bad thing." Carole keeps the physical side of their relationship "off camera", other than a gorgeous, sensual kiss or two, but that doesn't keep the characters from thinking about what went on "off camera" in language that is sensuous and hot and has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with Carole's superb use of words. The plot is fascinating and involved and very much reflects the real life intrigues and machinations which would surround a spiritual and political prize like the Aisling. There are moments in the plot that have you standing and cheering and then almost immediately gasping with dismay. And Carole pulls no punches when she skillfully leads you to understand that the most creepy, slimy, downright evil bad guy you can think of (and you have been hating for who knows how many pages) is NOT the ultimate foe here, which makes you shudder to think what, or who, could be more evil than that. Carole's writing is amazing. Just as some artists take paints and create Campbell soup cans and call it art and some take paints and create masterpieces that take your breath away, Carole is definitely up there with the masters in the way she uses words to paint gorgeous, intricate pictures - works of art that have layers and layers of meaning and make you come back again and again to study them. It is exciting to know we have one more book in this series to look forward to and, if you visit Carole's website, to find that we have an entire new series called "Wolf's-own" to look forward to as well (as soon as a savvy publisher snatches it up!) Bravo Carole!