||November 1, 2007
Legend: real or imagined? In their demon-bound minds, fearful and powerful men consider Arcinaë, the last Damselfly, a threat to their race. Hunted by those men, Arcinaë must set aside her docile nature to learn the skills of weaponry and war if she is to protect her unborn offspring and ensure the future of her race.
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In their demon-bound minds, fearful and powerful men consider Arcinaë, the last Damselfly, a threat to their race. Hunted by those men, Arcinaë must set aside her docile nature to learn the skills of weaponry and war if she is to protect her unborn offspring and ensure the future of her race.With the help of Ilerion, an embittered nobleman, and his manservant, Nilus, Arcinaë races against time to stop a vicious warlord set on cleansing the world of the Damselflies’ potent magick.Spanning two generations, Damselflies sweeps you into a tangled web of twisted legends and broken promises, desire and deception, fear and fallacy, and the endless struggle to control the minds of humankind.
The hunters dismounted their gryphons and cautiously approached the scorched remains. Intermittent flames flared as the last of the settlement’s dry wood was consumed and cinders, caught in gusts from the light spring wind, scurried and hissed over the final drifts of snow.
“Harpies,” Nilus dismissed, kicking at a smoldering body with disgust.
“Nay, I do not think so. They do not bear the talons of the harpies. See? The feet appear human,” Ilerion said as he examined the charred remains, “and the harpies do not build bothies, only stick eyries.”
Ilerion squatted next to another burned corpse, reached out and touched it, testing for heat. Finding it cool enough to handle, he reached under and turned it over to examine the vestiges of the amputated wings. The blackened flesh came away in his hands, and the delicate bones crumbled beneath his touch. Moving, he lifted another and discovered its wings had also been severed.
“Check the bodies beyond you,” Ilerion called to Nilus. “It appears that the wings were severed from each body.”
Nilus used the toe of his boot to lift the remains of several of the bodies, then shouted back, “Aye, I have not found a single one with wings attached.”
As he wandered from corpse to corpse, Ilerion checked each one. None had escaped the blade of the butcher. It was impossible to tell if the wings had been amputated before or after death, but he hoped the butchery had only been on those already dead.
A high pitched keening shattered the silence of death and brought Ilerion to his feet with sword drawn, eyes searching for the source of the wailing. Atop a small knoll stood an apparition so covered in gore and ash that it was impossible to determine its identity. A second scream echoed through the smoke-filled glen as the body crumpled and fell backward to the earth.
Ilerion raced forward and dropped to his knees beside the fallen creature. It was a woman, naked and blood-smeared. Her features were distorted by swelling and dark bruises. Pulling the cloak from his shoulders, Ilerion covered her before placing his fingertips below her jaw, feeling for the pulse of life. It was slow and faint, but it was there.
“Out of mercy finish it,” Nilus spoke behind him. “It will not live long, if indeed it lives at all.”
“She lives.” Ilerion said, gathering the woman and lifting her to his chest. “If we can reach the healer before the life fades away there is hope that she may continue to live.”
“Ilerion,” Nilus’s face darkened with concern, “it is not a woman, for there are great bloody wounds in its back where wings grew. It is…a beast. Ananta will chase us away if we bring her such a creature.”
“Not a beast, Nilus,” Ilerion said, his eyes warning against speaking further of beasts. “Without wings she is simply a badly beaten woman. The healer will help us.” Squatting, Ilerion laid the unconscious woman across his knees to examine the gaping wounds high upon her shoulders. Pulling a shirt from his pack, he tore it into pieces and stuffed them into the holes to stanch the bleeding. He then lifted her and placed her gently over his shoulder as he whistled for his mount.
As he mounted Grundl, Ilerion heard the gryphon’s question in his mind, Whose life do we save today, Hunter?
“I do not know her name.” Ilerion answered.
Shaking his head at his partner’s foolish risk, Nilus leapt to his mount and urged it skyward, banking toward the outskirts of Lamaas and the healer, Ananta.
The Library Journal
In the Seven Kingdoms, only one Damselfly remains; the rest of her kind have been butchered by evil men who fear the potent magic of these winged women. Aided by Ilerion, a nobleman unlike the Damselfly hunters, Arcinaë must wage war to save her kind from extinction. Continuing the story begun in The Wrekening and Dragon Queen, Gibson sets her saga of survival amid persecution in a richly detailed universe populated by many races as well as fantastical creatures and bathed in the light of magic.
PageOne Literary Newsletter
"Jayel Gibson, author of the new novel, "Damselflies" (ISBN: 1933538643I; Synergy Books ) is a writer with imagination, talent and passion. In a generation that yearns for great fantasy novelists like J.R.R. Tolkien, readers will find and fall absolutely, without a doubt, head over heels in love with Jayel Gibson. In a recent interview Gibson said, "I don't seem to have a choice. I believe that writing chooses the person, rather than the person choosing to become a writer. For me, writing is a passion and telling the tale consumes me until I get it down on paper. The fact that others read and enjoy my stories and the link that forms between writer and reader is a truly magical reward."
"Damselflies" is a magical story spanning two generations. In true genre form "Damselflies" asks the question -- Legend: Real or imagined? Is Arcinaë the last Damselfly? Is she a threat to an entire human race? "Damselflies," is "An epic fantasy about discrimination and the struggle for justice."
What Gibson offers with incredible talent is style, believable characters, vivid imagery and imagination that will transport the reader to a completely different place and time. Fantasy fiction is at it's best when the reader feels like they are in a different world and "Damselflies"does this better than any other fantasy novel this year. As the author points out, "Fantasy is an escapist genre; it allows me to create a multitude of worlds, meet new races and creatures, and consider all the possibilities that never were, but might have been. I tend to use whatever research method best facilitates the information gathering process: Internet, books, personal interviews, or a phone call to a museum curator. Research is the kindling that starts a story's fire. Both historical occurrences and the mythos provide the platform for my work. I might begin with the mythos, then research historical events for a plausible plot line, or begin with a historical event that triggers a new idea. Generally they go hand in hand, though I will be the first to admit that I twist and tangle the actual history until it is quite unrecognizable. For example: The wedding in Damselflies: An Ancient Mirrors Tale is modeled after historical hand-fasting and the ceremony of the cup. The coronation scene in Dragon Queen: An Ancient Mirrors Tale is fashioned after that of Queen Elizabeth II. The use of ancient languages, archaic terminology, and weaponry is important because I create many of the Ancient Mirrors' names, events and armaments based on them."
"Damselflies" wins on so many levels - This is a book full of interesting characters combined with a thought provoking and absorbing fresh plot. I personally applaud this author for a triumphant piece of literature that will stand the test of time.
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