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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Vision by C. L. Talmadge

The Vision: Book One of the Green Stone Healing Series by C. L. Talmadge
Publisher: Healing Stone Books
Genre: Fantasy
Length: Full / 290 pages
Heat Level: Spicy
Book Rating: 5
Review by Camellia

When politics and piety collide, the conflagration consumes a mighty country and imperils the world.

Packed with action, intrigue, and romance, the Green Stone of Healing(R) epic fantasy series begins with The Vision, which introduces first-generation heroine Helen Andros.

Helen is an opinionated, tough-minded physician who wears a mysterious green gem. She is also emotionally wounded and vulnerable, an illegitimate half-breed in Azgard, a realm divided by race and rank.

Caught in theocratic political machinations that almost end her life, Helen learns her father's true identity as one of the country's most powerful Toltec lords.

The revelation that impelled Helen's Turanian mother to bear a despised half-breed comes to light through the otherworldly Mist-Weavers. These ancient, secretive beings, appearing and dissolving at will, know of the jewel's full potentials.

Targeted for death by the state-supported Temple of Kronos, Helen is unable to reconcile with her newfound parent. She must learn to make full use of the stone and necklace and a special kind of energy called kura if she is to survive and fulfill her spiritual destiny.

This spellbinding fantasy is full of sub-plots and layers of meaning. Moral standards, laws, and rules that have evolved over time without compassion, respect, or love make life a misery for the masses in this make-believe world that seems alarmingly real as the story unfolds.

C. L. Talmadge is a phenomenal storyteller. The forward intrigues, then chapter one plunges the reader into the life of Helen Andros, a lieutenant and the sole medical officer in the 163rd Regiment. Born of a Turanian mother and Toltec father, she is looked down on by the ruling Toltecs. Half-breeds are not welcome in their society. Her irreverence toward her “betters”, her remarkable medical talent, and her yet “unawakened” gifts, her compassion, humor and courage make her a compelling character.

Orphaned at an early age, Helen had and continues to have a “hard row to hoe”. However, her intellect, perseverance, and indomitable spirit make her an amazing character with hidden strengths yet to be discovered. Her insubordination keeps her on the edge of ruin but she has strong convictions about her calling as a healer and does not back away from a challenge. Her loyalties are unshakeable. She is a heroine to be admired even though her flaws are many.

The reader may question who the hero is, but clues crop up quite subtly as the story unfolds.

The many characters, their titles, and stations in society take some attentive reading to keep sorted out. However, it is SO worth the effort because each of them has a notable significance in events that seem to propel this corrupt society toward destruction. (In the back of the book, a list of characters and their identification is helpful.)

Since THE VISION is the first book in this series, not all issues are resolved, but the reader is immersed in the action and the lives of the characters. Consequently, this reader has looking for book two on her list of things to do.

The layers of meaning that can be found in THE VISION is mind boggling. This story is provocative. The cruelty, manipulation, and insatiable hunger for POWER linger in the mind long after the story closes. How can one half-breed heroine bring about the healing of a total society—or can she?