Stealing Into Winter
Being the First Adventure From the Chronicles of Jeniche of Antar
Author: Graeme K. Talboys
I am absolutely thrilled that this is going to be a series! There is no way that I could put this book down – so many interesting characters, so much activity going on, a clear tone for the politics, and for the environment. Right from the start we have a fairly good idea that everything that is going on is not strictly on the physical or earth plane. Through the interactions of the various characters we find that many of them have special skills, and a special “knowing”.
The story revolves around a young girl named Jeniche, who supports herself by being a thief. Yes, she has a conscious, and yes, she has developed her own boundaries, including respect for herself as well as respect for others.
In the opening moments we find Jeniche alone in her jail cell, having been woken by the sound of one of the walls of her cell collapsing. This was good news … of a sort. The initial collapse was not enough to make room for her to get out, but the second one did. She was able to move into the hallway, where a violent rapist in the next cell wanted her to unlock his cell and let him out. She thought better of that, and kept on moving.
She found herself outside, in a city that was mass chaos. (Perhaps this is the place to note that the setting for this novel is ancient times.) Jeniche is dodging the city police, who will want her back in jail, as well as the soldiers who are invading. She also realizes that part of her confusion is the landscape – a significant structure in her life has been badly, and is crumbling down. She races over, climbs the stones, and begins clearing the area as fast as she can. She finds what she is looking for – the body of a learned woman friend. Her friend is dead … now there is no one to teach Jeniche.
Her journey continues, with the help of her friend Trag. Jeniche wants to leave the city, while Trag is bound by personal obligation to tend the horses in the stable he works in. Life takes some very strange turns – Jeniche runs head on into the lady of a house that she is robbing … only to have the lady gift her with a beautiful amulet. Then she encounters a group of monks and nuns, who want her to help them escape the city (the soldiers will not allow them to leave), and lead them across the dessert back to their homeland.
The enemy here is the aggressive Occassan soldiers, who will stop at nothing to win. And they are after Jeniche! Not even she knows why. Do they want something she has? Or do they want to make use of her skills?
Jeniche, Trag, and their little tribe of monks and nuns manage to escape the city, and begin their journey through the desert into the mountains. Oh, yes … they have added another partner, a big man by the name of Alltud, who isn’t the drunk that he once seemed to be as he kept reappearing in Jeniche’s life.
The people and things that are encountered on this journey are mind boggling … rooms filled with treasure, intricate swords, calligraphy on stone walls that Jeniche thinks she has seen before, but she is not sure where, dead bodies … and airships! Where do Jeniche and Alltud come from … what is their history, and why were they brought together? At the end of the journey, are the Occassan going to win, or do they have a surprise in store for them? And what part does the amulet play in this saga?
Well written, fast paced, with a complex background and story line. I certainly look forward to the next book in this series!
© May 2013 Bonnie Cehovet