The Last Namsara (Iskari Series #1)

The Last Namsara (Iskari Series #1)

by Kristen Ciccarelli

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Kristen Ciccarelli’s debut fantasy explores an intricately woven world of deception, inner darkness, and dragons that fantasy fans won’t be able to resist.

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm.

When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062568007
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/03/2017
Series: Iskari Series , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 71,441
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Kristen Ciccarelli is the internationally bestselling author of The Last Namsara and The Caged Queen. Before writing books for a living, she worked as an artisanal baker, an indie bookseller, and a ceramic artist. These days she resides in a blustery seaside cove on Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula with her blacksmith and her rescue dog. She likes her coffee dark, her weather broody, and her house warmed by a wood fire. Learn more at

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The Last Namsara (Iskari Series #1) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
JillJemmett More than 1 year ago
I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for so long, and I regret not reading it sooner. It’s an amazing story! I loved the power of stories in this book. Stories have the ability to attract dragons and give them the power to breathe fire. However, they are also believed to steal life from the person who tells them. Words and stories are very powerful because they represent our histories and dreams. I appreciated the way stories played a small part in this narrative, as a weapon, but didn’t take over from the main narrative. There was a strong hierarchy of power in this story. The people in positions of power own the skral people, who work as their slaves. The skral aren’t even allowed to touch or look at their masters or anyone above them on the social hierarchy. Though Asha has the power to kill dragons, she doesn’t have any power over her own life. Her father controls the decision of who she will marry, and once she marries, her husband will control her choices. Though Asha is at a disadvantage in her position, she is very strong willed, which encourages her to fight for her life. I loved this story! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
Bluemoons More than 1 year ago
I really loved this book! Fantasy is one of my favourite genres and I loved the inclusion of dragons in The Last Namsara. Our main character, Asha, has grown up to become the fierce Iskari, hiding her insecurities and doing whatever she can to please her father, the king. One thing I really loved was the amount of character development Asha went through. As well, the romance between Asha and Torwin was one of the highlights of the story. Torwin helped Asha to see from different perspectives and become a better person. There's a lot of action and tension which had me thoroughly engaged throughout. The writing was descriptive and very pleasant to read. I also loved the inclusion of the world's lore and the stories Asha tells every couple of chapters. If there was one drawback, it was that The Last Namsara was a little slow at the very beginning, but after a couple of chapters I was fully drawn in. Overall, I highly recommend this novel. It really stands out amongst all the other YA fantasy books out there. It has great characters, romance, action and of course, dragons!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I've ever read.
Mel-Loves-Books More than 1 year ago
“‘And worst of all, you’re fine with it. You’re happy to be a piece in someone else’s game.’ He ran frustrated hands through his hair. ‘It’s as if you believe them when they look at you like all you’re good for is being used. Like all you’re good for is destroying things.’’ Imagine learning that everything you believed about yourself, and the people in your life is really a lie. That you are not actually a horrible person who needs to overcome and “great evil” that you have always believed was all your fault. And through into that scenario a mystical kingdom where you are a princess and a world of dragons where you have spent your life hunting the dragons you believed were evil. Oh and add in one hell of a romance as well. That is this book and it is seriously fantastic. This is a definite, absolute five star read for me. I loved EVERY second of this story. ALL OF IT. There are so many lines from it I want to carry in my heart. And did I mention the dragons? I seriously want my own dragon people, but since that hasn’t happened yet, this will just be another book I add to the list that I will live vicariously through. I will leave you with one more favorite quote, that I feel safe in saying doesn’t give too much away. “‘You could die,’ she whispered. ‘Everything dies,’ he whispered back ‘I’m afraid of so much more than dying.’”
Aditi-ATWAMB More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC from Hachette India in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. I have been OBSESSED with dragons for as long as I can remember, or, more specifically, from the first time I saw Saphira in Eragon, the movie and then HAD to read the rest of the books despite the fact that I was only eleven, and barely understood anything from them. At the beginning of this year, I had two young adult books featuring dragons on my radar, and I knew I NEEDED to read BOTH of them. The first was Before She Ignites by the LOVELY Jodi Meadows which I FELL IN LOVE WITH and I honestly cannot wait for more in her trilogy. The second was this book, The Last Namsara, Kristen Ciccarelli’s debut novel which sounded SO GOOD that I was SO EXCITED to read it, and then I did. One of my biggest problems with this book was HOW MUCH I STRUGGLED TO CONNECT WITH ANY OF THE CHARACTERS IN THIS 400 PAGE BOOK. And I mean ANY. Let’s break this down: 1. I absolutely love that this book had dragons. DRAGONS, I TELL YOU. Like I said above, I love dragons so much and I love how the book portrayed them. 2. I love that STORIES themselves had so much power in this book. I live on stories, just like most of my closest friends, and a story that talked about the power of stories and was actually filled to the brim with its own stories and fables from the world and it was really good. 3. This is where most of the things I liked about The Last Namsara ends. The rest of the book was dry, PREDICTABLE and I honestly didn’t enjoy much of it. The forbidden romance, BORING. The evil ruler, MEH, and so on. 4. I also struggled to connect with the characters. I just didn’t feel anything for them emotionally, which made it so hard to care about their world, their struggles or their relationships. They all felt like monotonous characters, with only a one track mind. 5. More than anything, THE PLOT OF THIS BOOK DIDN’T MAKE SENSE. Or maybe, by that time, I had stopped caring enough but there were just SO MANY imprisonments and kidnappings and claims of a new world coming, with JUST THE SAME IDEALS? HOW IS IT A NEW WORLD IF THE SAME DISCRIMINATION AND RULES TAKE PLACE? WHAT? I honestly don’t know what was happening, especially with the whole Regicide rule. If you want a rebellion, and a NEW King on the throne, you need to kill the OLD king, RIGHT? So if someone on the opposing side DOES KILL THE OTHER SIDE’S KING WHY IS HE/ SHE IMPRISONED AND THEN SENTENCED TO DIE? WHAT EVEN? ISN’T THAT A WIN? ISN’T THAT THE POINT OF THE REBELLION? 6. I also felt like this book had a LOT of filler and the important scenes, where Asha, our main character actually realised things that changed her perspective on everything happened so quickly, that even I couldn’t process them. All in all, I WISH THIS BOOK HAD BEEN MORE. It was predictable and dry, BUT it had dragons and some excellent world building and so I’m on the fence about this series. 3 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I knew that I enjoyed the novel as I finished it, and I knew that I loved it as I read the authors note at the end. Thank you for giving young readers another heroine who was more than her beauty, thank you for making that a very small detail noticed by those who loved her. She was a strong lead character who was more than her looks, which is unfortunately an uncommon theme in many novels portraying lead female bad asses. They're all badass and also extraordinarily beautiful. Asha was beautiful in a different way, and struggled to see herself the way those close to her saw herself (much like many young women today). My praise for this detail aside the novel was quite good. I read it fast and wished it was longer, my one true complaint. I lean towards longer books by default as I am a serial reader and throughout I wished certain things took longer to get too. Alas I will be waiting for the next novel as patiently as I can.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It's a page-turner from the get-go and the plot is an adventure all the way through. Asha is a complicated character -- a tough girl (someone I can definitely relate to!) with a history of hurt. I loved that she wasn't a girly-girl. Her value shines through in strength of character and skill set - rather than beauty. (so rare!) I would recommend "The Last Namsara" to young girls who are looking for a feminine role model who is not "your typical pretty girl". Asha is tough. Strong in will -- and in body. I would also recommend this book to young guys. It's great to see a female character who'll challenge stereotypes that are so prevalent today. Even so, Kristen serves up a great love story -- in a total non-cheesy way. (hurray for that!) You don't have to be a YA reader to get into this story. I'm in my forties and I burned through the pages. This is my first dragon book ... and I'm impatiently anticipating the next one in the series. Well done, Kristen Ciccarelli!
Samantha05 More than 1 year ago
Asha, daughter of the king, is feared and admired as the greatest dragon hunter. She is nicknamed the Iskari, after the destroyer in the ancient legend of Iskari and Namsara. Her father has ordered her to marry a cruel man, but then offers her a bargain: if she can kill the most dangerous and oldest dragon in Firgaard, she will have her freedom. But during her quest with the help of a secret friend, she finds that not everything is as it seems, and the ancient tales may be more real than she imagined. What I Liked: THE LAST NAMSARA has exceptional world building. From the detailed imagery to the ancient legends, this is a novel where you can sink into the setting and feel yourself among the characters. The dragons are particularly great, and I love the different ones we get to meet along the journey. Asha’s character arc is extremely well done. I had trouble connecting with her character, but regardless, her characterization is full of depth, complexity, growth, and even healing. As she discovers the truth about dragons, the ancient legends, and even her own upbringing, you’ll be amazed at the emotional resonance Kristen Circcarelli captures. What Left Me Wanting More: While there is much to enjoy, I found it difficult to make a connection with the story and characters. The plot can be a bit slow going, and it wasn’t until about the second half or so that I was eager to keep turning the pages. Some areas left me with more confusion than answers, but as this is the first book in a series, more explanations might be found in the sequel. Final Verdict: Though I wasn’t able to connect with the story as much as I wanted, THE LAST NAMSARA is still an enjoyable adventure with admirable character growth and outstanding world building.
AsDreamsAreMade More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book!!! Asha, the daughter of the King of Firgaard, is the fiercest dragon slayer in the kingdom.  Known as the Iskari, people fear her almost as much as the dragons she kills.  But she fears the prison she is trapped in at home; forced to marry Jarek, the cruel commandant.  When her father gives her the option of killing Kozu, the first dragon in exchange for release from her betrothal, Asha feels she will finally gain the freedom she’s desired for so long.  However, she soon discovers that there might be more to the dragons and the ancient stories than what she was led to believe.  Soon, she must decide who she will become in order to save all those she loves. The reading slump is over and boy, did this book cure me of it! I loved, loved, loved it and I’m dying to get my hands on its sequel.  It’s one of the first fantasy books I’ve read in a while that just drew me in right away and wouldn’t let me go.  I started and finished it in a day and I didn’t want it to end! Asha was one of those rare main characters that just has you hooked from the beginning with both her faults and attributes.  She’s extremely prejudicial and stubborn and has no qualms making decisions that might hurt those beneath her station.  At the same time, she’s extremely loyal to those she loves, and learns from her mistakes. By the end of her journey, she’s able to own and accept who she is without fear.  She doesn’t get there on her own though.  It takes those around her to help her realize her beauty and strength. I loved Torwin.  He calls her on so much of her BS and isn’t afraid to show her when she’s acting like an ass. He can be a bit dramatic at times, but not to the extreme.  He’s passionate about his beliefs and gets frustrated with Asha when she doesn’t agree with them. Safire and Dax were such great supporting characters.  You really felt that familial bond between the three of them (Safire, Dax, and Asha).  I feel like there’s going to be more to Safire’s story as this saga unfolds.  (At least I hope there is!) We see glimpses of her true potential throughout the story and I can’t wait to see if I’m right. Jarek is one nasty dude. Talk about manipulative, cruel, abusive–it made for some tense scenes. I couldn’t stop turning the page to see what would happen next.  The world was really well developed and complex.  It was not perfect–there’s slavery and prejudice, but there are also rich cultures and history that I want to know more of.  I loved the ancient stories aspect. I’m hoping Kristen will one day publish a book just with the old stories.  From the ones we’ve seen already, I’m dying to know the rest! Pick up this book.  Like, yesterday.  It’s one of my favorites I’ve read all year.  This was one of those rare books that turns out to be everything you wanted and more.
Celestial_Blackrose More than 1 year ago
❝ The Old One formed the second out of blood and moonlight. He named her Iskari. Iskari was a sorrowful child. Where Namsara brought laughter and love, Iskari brought destruction and death.❞ Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book! This in no way influenced my opinion, all thoughts are my own. The first thing that really drew me to this book was the beautiful cover design. It’s really simple with just part of the face and glitter but I love it so much! There’s just something that draws your eye to it. So, props for the great cover design! But really, once I started the book I knew it was going to be one of my favorite releases of the year because of the great storyteller quality. For just about every chapter, Asha shared a story–either one from her own history/experience or one of the forbidden ones–and every time it drew me in. I felt like I was sitting around a campfire with her, just listening to her tell these beautiful and often heartbreaking stories. Not only did it give the book this really great storyteller vibe, but it was a nice way of providing background on the world, characters, and their relationships. That being said, I was really happy with the worldbuilding for this book. Ciccarelli did a great job of giving us the history bit by it rather than just dumping it all on us at once. ❝ Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things. Things like forbidden, ancient stories. It didn’t matter that the old stories killed her mother. It didn’t matter that they’d killed many more before her. The girl let the old stories in. She let them eat away at her heart and turn her wicked.❞ As for the characters themselves, I really loved them. Especially Asha. Asha was this really fierce dragon hunter that was always trying to prove herself to the world. She wanted to make up for her mistakes and it really made me sympathize with her whenever she showed just how little she believed in herself. She was really stuck in the mindset of her being evil, wicked, and tainted because of how others hated and feared her. It was what made me enjoy seeing her character development throughout the book. I also enjoyed Torwin’s character development. Or rather, more like the unfolding of it because we saw very little of him and he was kind of reserved but little by little we got to know more about him and see how he really was. I liked how he could bring out the best in Asha and could see things differently. He was kind and very brave. The plot was very interesting and had me gripped from the first page. I think the stories that were told and Asha’s inner dialogue really had you rooting for her. You wanted to see this character redeemed, you wanted her to succeed, and more than anything you wanted her to be freed from the situation she was stuck in with Jarek. And the ending of the book really had me dying to see where the story goes next. I’m really looking forward to continuing the series and can’t wait for the next book to come out! The Last Namsara was just released on October 5th, and I highly recommend you go pick up a copy!
taramichelle More than 1 year ago
When I started reading The Last Namsara, I had high hopes but wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. As I turned the last page, I knew I had found a new series to add to my favorites. This book is a story about perception and morality, how they shape us and how they can change us. This is a book about challenging expectations in favor of being true to your self. This is a book about the power of stories and the truth. The Last Namsara is a wonderful debut that is full of political intrigue, character growth, and dragons. Since it’s always hard to write reviews for five-star reads, I’ve decided to make a list of the top five reasons why you should read this book. 1) Asha is a beautifully written, complex heroine. Her character growth throughout the novel was amazing and a joy to read. 2) The world-building. I loved how the history was imparted through stories and how the character’s (and reader’s) perspectives of that history was challenged. 3) The Last Namsara did have a bit of a slow start but the plot overall was engaging, clever, and full of twists. 4) While the romance did develop quickly, I loved that there was such a strong aspect of mutual trust, friendship, and support. Additionally, you don’t often see a princess falling in love with a man of a lower social class, let alone a slave. 5) An absolutely brilliant ending that will somehow wraps this book up perfectly while still leaving you desperate for the next installment. (No, there’s not a cliffhanger). While it got off to a slow start, the strong foundation that was built ultimately paid off in the end. The second half of the novel had me glued to my seat, utterly entranced and desperate to find out more. There were some minor flaws but The Last Namsara is one of the best debut novels I’ve read this year. Kristen Ciccarelli is definitely an author to watch out for, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. I know that I’m already counting down the days until The Caged Queen is released. *Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Artemis_25 More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC via netgalley and voluntarily chose to review. Whoa, this was deep, I'm utterly impressed, never would have expected the story taking the turns it did. I absolutely loved the way how we are made to discover the workings of the created world through stories which gain an even deeper meaning the further you read. Especially the connection of storytelling to the dragons left me fascinated, it's so original, how these creatures are called and made stronger by it. The characters, getting to know them seemed like a never-ending journey, I believe there is still much more to discover about them. I liked uncovering their layers and motives bit by bit, to see them noticeably develop. Asha definitely goes through the biggest development of them all, growing a lot through her experiences. She certainly grew on me, so much so that I am quite proud of what has become of her in the end. The love story involving Asha I adored. It's a slow-burning one with a lot of resistance and fighting on her part in the beginning, but she has a ton of self-loathing and cruel customs to overcome, so it's only realistic and all the sweeter in the end. Twist and turns surprised me again and again. You can guess at them because of the hints before. I've been beating myself up over not seeing them sooner, a good sign because it shows how invested I've been. I'm impressed and concomitantly shocked about the heavy betrayal that's underlying everything, very well plotted. The only thing I can do now is to impatiently wait for the sequel and highly recommend this first installment to all fantasy-loving bookworms out there.
Barb-TRC More than 1 year ago
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli is the 1st book in her new YA fantasy Iskari series. Ciccarelli has created a complex and interesting fantasy world of Dragons, Royalty and a heroine, who is considered a princess, but is hated by many. Asha, our heroine, is considered an Iskari, bringer of death. When she was a young child, she suffered a disfigurement when she accidently hurt Kozu, the first and most powerful Dragon. The town had serious deaths & damage by the fire of an angry Dragon, which the town blamed her for that disaster. From that moment, Asha became the Iskari, and her job was to kill all dragons and bring their heads to her father, the King. In current time, Asha is determined to find Kozu and kill him, which would free her from having to marry the commandant, Jarek, who truly was evil. While killing another dragon, she returns home to Figaard with a burned hand that can be poisonous. Jarek’s slave is nearby and attempt to help her, but he is not allowed to touch her; he does anyway in order to help her, but she will keep his secret. The slave, Torwin, is besotted with Asha, but knows this is forbidden. Asha herself, wants nothing to do with the slave boy. Things during the course of this story will slowly change, as will Asha’s life. Because of the burn, or due to her desire to find, Kozu, Asha has dreams during the night about the old one, and is given things she needs to do to be able to find Kozu. First she is given blades to fight; then is given a young dragon that she must protect; lastly she is given fireskin, which allows her to go through fire and not get burned. The key to the story is that Asha would always kill dragons, thinking that is her destiny. But when she must protect the young dragon, Shadow, who follows her everywhere, she begins to have feelings for the dragon. Torwin, who is now on the run from Jarek and death, does everything he can to help Asha and Shadow; and a friendship is born, but one of secrecy. What follows is an addictive adventure that will have Asha and Torwin running for their lives, especially when she realizes that she has been betrayed from the beginning, when she was burned as a child. Her half cousin, Safire and her brother, Dax try to help her and together they will find the truth that will also save Dax’s life. What was amazing was the Dragons, especially Kozu, who would become a very big part of Asha ‘s life, as we raced to climax, which was an exciting last half of the book. I can’t tell too much more, as it would ruin the story for you. The Last Namsara was an exciting, captivating story, in a fantastic intriguing new world, which includes villains, dragons, forbidden romance and a great heroine. Kristen Ciccarelli has done a fabulous job writing this story, and I cannot wait for the next book.
LauraEG26 More than 1 year ago
What do you do when you've been lied to your entire life? Kristen Ciccarelli's "The Last Namsara" tells the story of Asha, the formidable dragon hunting princess of Firgaard. Asha became the embodiment of Iskari, the feared god of destruction and death, following a gruesome dragon attack at a young age that left her horribly scarred and filled her with anger toward all dragons. Asha learned at this young age that storytelling was evil, as was her mother for sharing them with her, and the Old One for creating them (since they attracted dragons who also had stories to share). She grew up desiring to be her father's Iskari by killing dragons and everything that was reminiscent of the old ways. Asha learned to hate herself, skrals (Firgaard's slaves), scrublanders (a desert tribe), and her beloved cousin (a mixed race child). The Old One suddenly enters her life bearing gifts with strings attached should she not use them correctly. These gifts go against every fiber of her being, but the Old One's consequences cannot be ignored. As Asha is forced to confront her entire identity and worldview with these gifts, she begins to discover her entire world is built on numerous layers of deceit. I enjoyed "The Last Namsara" from beginning to end and found Asha to be a relatable character. (Lets face it, we all have things we don't like about ourselves.) Asha's entire worldview (and her personal identity) was challenged by the very god her father, the Dragon King, desperately wanted her to eradicate. I loved the inserted stories throughout; they explain so much but would be hard to introduce into the storyline by themselves. I can't wait until the next book comes out ("The Caged Queen")! My opinion is solely my own, but I do want to thank Goodreads, HarperTeen, and Kristen Ciccarelli for a copy.
ahyperboliclife More than 1 year ago
“Once there was a girl who was drawn to wicked things. Things like forbidden, ancient stories. It didn’t matter that the old stories killed her mother. It didn’t matter that they’d killed many before her. The girl let the old stories in. She let them in eat away at her heart and turn her wicked.” I came for the dragons, I stayed for the story. I’m not going to lie, the promise of dragons is what immediately drew me into the story. But, I really fell in love with the storytelling and the world that Kristen Ciccarelli created. The Last Namsara follows Asha, daughter of the Dragon King of Firgaard and the Iskari, a wicked person with destructiveness in their soul, born from forbidden ancient stories. Determined to get out of her arranged marriage, Asha must use her experience as the kingdom’s most feared dragon slayer to kill the First Dragon. Along the way, Asha discovers truths she never expected about herself and the kingdom. Things I Liked My absolute favorite part of the book was the part that stories play in this world. Stories have this mythic power that is destructive and seductive all at the same time; the stories foster wickedness, but also draw dragons to the storyteller. We get stories interwoven between chapters that help worldbuilding and mythology and gives us a lot of history without ever feeling like an info dump. The stories and their power created this grand epicness that immediately drew me in and captivated me. I am a total sucker for dragons. They are these incredibly fantastic magical creatures who are complex and intriguing. And I really love them in The Last Namsara! We get to see how the people of Firgaard’s relationship with dragons have changed and see some great one-on-one interactions. I really found myself drawn into the writing in this book. It was alluring and enchanting and wrapped around you like one of the forbidden stories. It just really worked well with me as a reader, and I want more. I actually liked Torwin quite a bit. I loved that he wasn’t afraid to call Asha out on her privilege and inexperience with politics. He was a character who knew what they wanted and fought for it - it made him admirable and easy to connect with. I have some mixed feeling about Asha. I found her to be kinda unlikeable in beginning. She was incredibly naive about her place of privilege. BUT she does grow to realizes the privilege and power she comes from and starts to challenge her longheld beliefs. It is a process though, so it takes a little bit of time. She also has some really nice self-acceptance about her role as the Iskari, it’s expectations, and who she wants to be as a person. Things I Didn’t Like I was a little disappointed with the lack of diversity in the story. The worldbuilding and setting kind of allude to diversity, but it’s never explicit. Characters are very loosely described - hair and eye color only - and there’s only one vague reference to a group of people’s skin tone in the story. I feel like it might have been purposefully vague to not bring assumptions with the master-slave dichotomy, but it just felt kind of weird. I also would have liked a little more from side characters, especially Dax, Safire, and Rao. They all had specific roles and they filled them perfectly, but I wanted to know more about them as people, not just pieces of the story. I was in the mood for a fantasy story and this one delivered. I loved the world and it’s history - the magic of stories and the relationships