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Posted January 14, 2013
The third volume of The Chronicles of Ealiron is a thorough psychological investigation of the effects of a supernatural force on the inhabitants of the magical Ealiron realm. The crowharrow (or soiros) is an overwhelming, annihilating male force that periodically swoops down with hurricane devastation on Ealiron. But is such a phenomenon really much different from psychic forces in the air in our own world, where thoughts, ideas and impulses, whether creative or destructive, suddenly gain predominance in the worldwide culture? The crowharrow targeting the protagonist, the eighteen year-old Tansel, is not only a magical being endemic to Ealiron, but also part of a family curse, and its exterminating power mixes into the misunderstandings, tragedies, and dysfunctions of Tansel’s family extending back to her great-grandfather’s generation.
The crowharrow force unhinges everyone, bringing out unacknowledged fears, talents, and strengths--as well as holding various taboos and flawed suppositions up to the light. Though an encounter with a soiros may appear to be random bad luck to those who encounter it, in reality the crowharrow seems well-tied to the unconscious darkness of the characters.
The crowharrow seduces and abducts, kills and destroys, but, like the rest of the Ealiron world, it follows the magical laws of nature in the realm of Ealiron, which correspond to the psychological laws of our own. How do the characters handle these forces? What courage or cowardice do they bring to the struggle? Some accept tidy explanations, no matter how painful or incorrect. Others cover the issues up, resorting to magical dogma to explain their action or lack of it.
Numerous characters strive in their own ways to shield the orphan Tansel, a talented gardener and an innocent maiden, from the crowharrow. But in trying to protect Tansel’s innocence are they also denying her growth, change, and right to claim new strength? Is loss of innocence really the annihilation everyone fears?
Lorth and Eaglin, the two wizards assigned to investigate the affair, possess great power, yet they’re constantly confronted with the limitations of a reality they must honor. For magical powers cannot be are abused without serious consequences. Lorth, the hero of the first two novels in The Chronicles of Ealiron series, displays an admirable and growing mastery of wizardry, yet even his pragmatic wisdom and courage can be short-circuited by the powers surrounding the crowharrow.
The author convincingly marshals the psychic energies of the characters towards unexpected conclusions and new perspectives. In addition to a deep examination of the souls of all the major characters, the novel resonates with the beauty of the natural world, of gardens and the numinous earth.
Michael D. Smith