Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Michael Ehart/THE SERVANT OF THE MANTHYCORE

i finally got a chance to read michael ehart's book. i follow his blog and what piqued my interest was the fact that the tale takes place in the bronze age in the middle east. the book is a series of short stories about ninshi (the lady of the song). she has wandered the land for too many lifetimes, bound to the will of the manthycore, a horrific creature that takes the shape of a massive lion with wings. ninshi's job is to kill, then summon the beast by calling him with its tailisman, a broken tooth from the creature.

we follow ninshi on her journeys and learn that she does this because the manthycore holds her childhood love captive. as the monster feeds, she always asks to see the vision of her lover, radiant and young, as she remembers him. altho ninshi has not aged, she is scarred by the countless fights she has endured, older from the weight of the curse she has beared for so many centuries.

it is her "daughter" miri, a slave girl ninshi purchased on a whim, who allows us to see the soft side of our heroine. it is through miri we piece together more of ninshi's stories. ehart does a fine job in his prose, evoking the feeling and setting of the time. he draws on myths and folklore, uses poetry/song to convey the story. the tale brings to mind the greek myths i loved to read as a child, but with a different cultural bent. each new chapter contains an illustration by rachel marks, which adds to the overall feel of the book. i've not read a fantasy book like this and thoroughly enjoyed it. my only complaint is that i wanted more.

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