Guest Author - Taisha Turner
The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming is the second volume of The Conch Bearer series. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the author of the series set in India. Volume One’s heroes: Anand, Abhaydatta and Nisha return in this chapter of the series.
The trio now resides in Silver Valley in the Himalayan Mountains. This is the home of the Society of the Healers, Master Abhaydatta’s home. Nisha and Anand have made the choice to reside with the Brotherhood. They can no longer return to the ordinary world of modern India. Nisha, a poor orphan, easily made her choice to remain. Anand who had to leave his beloved parents and his sister still has slight qualms about his decision. Yet, he feels it is his destiny to become a wizard and live with the Brotherhood. Was he not the Keeper of the Conch?
The Conch is a mystical shell. It and Anand share a special bond. They are able to speak with each other without words. Anand with the help of his good friends, Abhaydatta and Nisha, returned the Conch to Silver Valley in Volume One.
Anand and Nisha are settled and are apprentices with the Brotherhood of Healers when a cry for help comes. Abhaydatta and some others leave to give aid to an old woman and her village. Days later, Anand has a strong, fierce fear. His dear friend’s life is in jeopardy. He secretly plans to leave Silver Valley and search for him. Cunning Nisha inveigles herself into his travel plans.
The resulting time travel fantasy delves into the distant past. The time of the royal courts of Ancient India is the setting. This is the era of the Muslim Nawabs in Bengal. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni describes the lush beauty and the pageantry so beautifully.
And to counterpoint the beauty, she does a masterful job of creating the devious and evil sorcerers. There is a Jinn, so evil, he will make the reader’s skin crawl. Queen Jadis, of The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, is a kitty cat in comparison. Jadis is a half-Jinn, maybe that’s the reason. The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming has the real thing, a full-blooded one.
All in all, The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming is an action-packed novel of suspense. The Second Volume in a series is usually ho-hum. This is not the case here. The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming is a single satisfying work of art. Readers will love and understand this book without reading the first volume of the Conch Bearer series. Enjoyment of the second volume will cause readers to seek The Conch Bearer to read the trio's earlier adventures. Young and old get a copy and travel in a time portal to the lush Bengal jungles.
A word of warning, do not read The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming on an empty stomach. Ms. Divakaruni’s descriptions of the meals are mouth-watering. The aroma of the food wafts from the pages. Cumin, turmeric, black pepper, fenugreek leaves and other spices will tickle your nose.
The Conch Bearer and The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming are availabe at Amazon.com in all formats.
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Note: The Conch Bearer and The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni were received free from Media Masters. Roaring Brook Press published the fantasy novels.