Friday 12 July 2019

Crystal Embers - David Vining

Crystal Embers
David Vining
ISBN 9781070434520

Over the past year I have read five collections of short stories and a historical novel by David Vining. And I really enjoyed them. But this new novel from Vining is a masterpiece. As I was reading it, I kept expecting certain things to happen and they did not, and what did happen was such a surprising twist on an old tale that it completely blew me away. The skill showing in the writing of this novel amazed me. As much as I have enjoyed all his other available works, I truly loved this one. 

I would describe this story as a retelling of the tale of Saint George and the Dragon, but from a completely different angel. George has been released from his role in the military after a long and hard-fought civil war. He has been sent home, but home is his men, the battles, and the adventure. He does not know where he fits, and a quiet desperation keeps gripping him. His wife, Virginia, is lost in her own way. Her husband that returned from war is not man she remembers leaving or had built up in her memory. And she is no longer in charge or the lands and has a stranger sharing her bed. George is known as the hero who ended the war. She mourns the loss of her child, and it is a child he never met. They encounter a dragon on their land and both of them become enthralled by it. But everyone expects the hero of the war to kill the dragon. 

The two of them end up travelling through the countryside. They pursue the dragon. But not for the expected reasons. They travel and they search for new meaning. All they have is each other and the dragon they are following. Watching their strange sad reunion was touching. Following them as they rediscover each other is deeply moving. 

In many ways this story reminds me of A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin and Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. It is a classic fantasy story. The plot is very unique. The book was hard to put down. And I give it a solid 5/5 stars. It is a great read, give it a try I am sure you will enjoy it. 

My only wish was that I could track down a copy of his debut novel that is now out of print. But everything else he has written is excellent. 

Books by David Vining:
A Quest Through Winter Sleep
The Battle of Lake Erie: One Young American's Adventure in the War of 1812
Crystal Embers

The Sharp Kid

Collections of Short Stories:
Shoes for Two Soldier Sons
Old Magic in a New World
A Light in the Darkness
A Boy and His Satellit


Author profile and interview with David Vining.

No comments: