||March 3, 2001
A coming of age story about a young priestess who is called upon by an ancient artifact to save it from forces of evil. Though she must become an outlaw to succeed, she learns to follow her own heart.
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Magda Ranhubell lives in the snowbound country of Montrovik. She ran away from home six years before to join a Sanctuary and become a priestess, rather than marry her rich neighbor or govern her family's estate. The book begins when Magda leaves the Sanctuary in mid-winter, bound for the peaks of the snow mountains. She carries the holiest artifact in the country - the Chalice of the Silver Reindeer - which has telepathically asked her to remove it and take it up the mountain.
To accomplish her goal, Magda must outwit bountymen, avoid wolves and survive blizzards. She meets Thorn, a magician who has run away from the King's court. Together they realize they are being hunted by someone who will do anything to get his hands on the chalice and use its power for evil. The book will take the reader on an adventure filled with magic and even love.
Whenever I felt myself losing spirit, I took out the chalice. It always gave me a profound sense of inner strength, and I was warmed by its age-old vibrations of peace and wisdom. I could feel it like a friend, urging me toward the summit.
Tonight, I was content to sit and stare into the fire. My body was tired, and even lying down seemed a chore. I almost fell asleep with my eyes open. Just as I was slipping away, a hand gripped my neck—and I felt the edge of a cold knife on my throat.
I could not scream, though I felt the panic rise up in my throat. “Who are you?” said a cold voice behind me.
Fearing it was one of the ruffians returned, I answered, “I’m a poor servant and have been separated from the King’s party. Have pity, sir.”
“Liar,” the man retorted, and I felt the knife tip pierce my skin. “I’ve just left King Harben in his tower, and by the look of you, you’re no servant.”
The Priestess and the Mage
In 35,000 well-assembled words, or maybe fewer, Stirling Davenport deftly and efficiently conveys her tale of Magda and the Chalice of the Silver Reindeer. No movement is wasted, no remark superfluous. It is delightful to read a fully rounded story told with such economy and without padding. It does, however, leave a reader wanting more -- a sequel, perhaps, or a series. The Priestess and the Mage: what could they get up to, come Spring and warmer weather, longer days, and pale midnights? Sequel or no, though, this is the adventure where their story starts.
In Magda's world, religion and magic coexist uneasily, it seems, but against both, and against simple morality and goodwill, the demons scheme relentlessly and with no shred of mercy. This war, though, is hidden from the populace at large, even from the kings and lords, and even from most of the priestesses in their sanctuaries. The author brings us into the personal worlds of people with a special kind of sight; some of these choose the side of Good, while others succumb to Evil, and the story pits them against each other. A strong philosophy underpins this story, and the lucid economy of the writing lets the reader make out the movements of its armature.
The author's careful, although subtle, exploration of philosophy is paralleled by her handling of the characters' psychologies. No somersaults of attitude, no emotional zigzags: things happen for their own valid, carefully presented reasons, which makes the outcome -- far from inevitable in the book's world -- all the more credible and satisfying.
"The Silver Reindeer" could be enjoyed by teens and seniors and also by those in-between, by anyone, that is, with an eye and ear for folklore, fairy tales, and quests.
-- Eben Oldmixon
Couldn't Put it Down
The Silver Reindeer is a captivating page turner. Although it takes place in ancient history, the writer puts the reader in the front row for the entire ride. The story is well paced, visually clear, and compelling. The end came sooner than I wanted and yet fulfilled my hopes in the way all great stories do. I completely forgot my own reality and closed the adventure with tears of happiness.
-- Jan Hersch
I loved this story!
I just read "The Silver Reindeer" and I LOVED it! It's a wonderful winter-set tale about a beautiful young psychic priestess of the Goddess, a chalice with magical powers, a handsome, shapeshifting young magician and a couple of really wicked villains, one of whom is really gross (in the true sense of the term). The author does a great job with her characters, with the beautifully described settings, but most of all with a powerful storyline. Hollywood, listen up! This book has the potential to make a great and very entertaining movie.
-- Lu Merritt
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