The Eye of Night by Pauline Alama

The Eye of Night” by Pauline Alama is an epic tale of converse elements: famine and harvest, mystery and enlightenment, death and rebirth, chaos and genesis.

Welcome to a world ruled by gods of the World-Wheel: Rising God, Bright Goddess, Upside-down God, and Hidden Goddess. Natural order abandons the land of the North and beckons the time of the Troubles. Ghosts walk the earth; madness infects the kingdoms; blood rituals attempt to appease the gods; day no longer follows night. From chaos rises clarity.

Alama scribes the adventure through the first person narrative of Jereth of Garmund, a man who has lost faith in his religious order and embarked on a pilgrimage before taking his final vows as a Tarvon priest. The Tarvons follow the way of the Rising God, an order of the Intellect. The story begins when Jereth takes shelter from his pilgrimage in the castle of Kelgarran. During his night there, Jereth becomes entangled in a journey of mysteries and song, starvation and love. He flees the kingdom with a scarred and dwarfish woman, Hwyn, and her companion, the Lady Trenara of Larioneth.

What he does not realize is that his actions bind him to a quest of the highest order: deliver the legendary Sky-Raven’s Egg to the northern lands so that a new age might begin-or end. Hwyn, a prophet as talented as Cassandra of the Greek myths, wears the guise of servant to Lady Trenara. Trenara, though beautiful, is an enigmatically simple woman. Together this unlikely trinity of faith-less priest, prophet, and fool must travail through the desperate lands to deliver the Sky-Raven’s Egg to its final location. Along the journey they pose as minstrel singers and day laborers to earn money for their travels. Hwyn, though ill-shapen and scarred, has a beautiful voice that attracts attention and coins. As Hwyn is a collection of opposites, she carries with her an object of destruction and rebirth: Sky-Raven’s Egg–The Eye of Night.

The first person narration is adept and unobtrusive. However, some dialogue seems unnatural to the characters. The uncanny romance elements appear slightly awkward but do not hinder the plot. Some familiarity with the White Goddess/Hidden Goddess is necessary to accept the fantastic elements of the story’s resolution. Educated readers with a penchant for mythology, Arthurian legends, and The Old Religion will best appreciate this journey.

The Eye of Night” deals with nothing less than a full transmutation of both physical and spiritual worlds. The lands created by Alama exude metaphysical and mythical elements. This quest approaches the same scale as “The Odyssey”–fantastic creatures, hardship, insurmountable odds, divine intervention and bundles of contradictions. Ghosts and gods walk the land; the Old Religion is real.

Buy this book: The Eye of Night

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