hirteen years after the last world war, the village of Lia Fail sits peacefully above the Hollywood Reservoir in the Santa Monica Mountains. The village is making ready for the fall Gathering, where the other colonies from various parts of what was once Southern California visit for ten days of fun. However, as the festivities begin, an evil descends upon them. Will they have the courage and the magic to defeat the Black Hoard?
Thirteen years after the last world war, the village of Lia Fail sits peacefully above the Hollywood Reservoir in the Santa Monica Mountains. The village is making ready for the fall Gathering, where the other colonies from various parts of what was once Southern California visit for ten days of fun and reminiscence. What begins as a normal Gathering, soon changes as the people of Lia Fail begin to see magic around them. Then they receive news of a horrific massacre and face a nightmare as a dark evil descends on the tranquil village. Alia Stark, the queen of Lia Fail, must face this evil along side her oldest and dearest friends as well as an incredible new ally as the fate of her people and the lives of her children rest in her hands. Will her new magic be strong enough to save those she loves the most?
He felt the evil growing. He knew the time had come so he ran and they followed him, running as fast as they could. The frigid night air cut into their throats like knives as their legs pushed them away from the battle, each muscle expanding and contracting in rhythm. He had to get to safety, but where? Then he remembered his vision. The caves, he had to get them to the caves.
Fighting the urge to slow, he pushed forward, his lungs constricting with each deep, cold breath, ever mindful of the weak and struggling around him.
Then he heard the sounds of horses, followed by soldiers yelling. He knew they mustn’t be seen.
He ordered his clan forward as he stopped to assess their enemy's approach. He stared into the distance, but saw nothing save for the flickering of torches. He turned and watched his clan move through the wooded hills towards the caves in the mountain. His nostrils twitched as he turned his head back towards the dark night. He narrowed his field of vision and there he saw them.
The flickering lights became an orange glow rising over the ridge; he drew a long sharp breath. He turned and yelled for them to hurry. He ran with what strength he had left, once again taking the lead.
The torches moved rapidly over the ridge like a great serpent spreading quickly down the hill. His mouth was dry and his head was pounding, every muscle in his body ached.
Then he saw the caves, just beyond the trees. He ordered his clan into the mountain. They drove through the black rock opening and plunged into darkness, each muscle burning and sore, pushed to its ultimate limit.
The dimness of the cave made them slow slightly, but he kept them moving forward with as much speed as they could manage, encouraging them to follow. Despite the cold, the dampness of the stone was making the dryness in his chest ease and he was grateful.
They ran for what seemed an eternity and then he saw it, a light. He ran to it and they followed, bursting out the side of the mountain like a flood. They ran along a road covered with a strange black rock that was unfamiliar to them, but he didn't let them stop. In the distance he saw a glow and he ordered his clan to move in that direction. It was warm and comforting, not the threatening serpent of fire they had just left on the other side of the mountain. After a short distance he led them off the strange road and into the trees.
He stopped once again, turning to watch for their enemies, but there was nothing behind them, nothing but the darkness of the caves.
He turned and ran again to the front of his people, who had stopped and were staring into the distance. He could now see the source of the warm light. It was a great village with a grand castle. His nostrils twitched again and he walked forward, smiling. This was the place. That was the castle, there was the flag and she was there, he could feel it.
He urged his clan forward. They moved slowly towards the village, exhausted. The great walls were close now, rising high into the night sky. He told them to move into the woods and they turned one by one disappearing into the trees.
When the last of his people had withdrawn, he walked towards the trees, but before he entered the forest he stopped and turned his head. He stared at a window in a turret, her window. He sighed heavily and smiled as he walked into the wood.
Great Start for a First Novel
Like an Arthurian legend with a decidedly feminine twist, The Gathering is the ideal antithesis to Medieval fantasy, placing the action in the future but borrowing heavily from the past. Alia Stark is a strong character that leads the way to a promising future after "the end of the world."
the novel reads swiftly without bogging down the reader with too much needless information or sidetracks that deter from the main story. Fantastic creatures, mystical powers, and a moral center grounds the themes of family, love, and rebirth.
As far as summer reads go, this one is definitely a must-read for this summer. The abundance of characters may seem daunting at first, but nothing an avid reader can't handle. In the end, they prove to be a necessary part of the story and we hope that they will appear in future installments, which I have no doubt they will.
"THE GATHERING" (REVIEW)
It finally happened, World War III tore the everything apart and once it was over the survivors have been forced to pull together where they could and rebuild the world into colonies. The village of Lia Fail is the largest colony with its own queen and is settled in the Hollywood area of the Santa Monica Mountains. It has been thirteen years since the war's end and the time for the Gathering has come again. As the colonies far and wide prepare to travel to Lia Fail to join one another in a time of peace and tranquility, they have no idea what evil lurks waiting to harm them all.
S.L. Dearing has created a cast of characters that are multi-faceted as well as endearing. It's not hard to see this series becoming an actual television series. The entire premise of the story is exciting and something you can entirely imagine being true. It seems the world has gone back to living in a time reminiscent of medieval life as well as the life of the world as it was just being settled. The creation is at once beautiful with just the right amount of undertones of the macabre to keep you interested in finding out what's going to happen and what these people can do to keep their families safe.
I started reading this book night before last and stayed up late unable to stop reading until I finished it only moments ago. I definitely recommend this book and hope others will pick it up as a must read. S.L. Dearing is definitely an author to watch.
Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Literary Community
Couldn't put it down
This is Shannon Dearing's first book and I am so looking forward to the next one! The characters are exciting and well developed. The plot is intriguing and captivating. The book moves at a great pace. It's suspenseful and romantic without being overly dramatic. This is a page-turner! Yes, there are a lot of characters, but you will need every one of them and you won't have trouble keeping them apart or remembering them. If you like this genre, read the book! Even if you don't like this genre, give it a try, you won't regret it. Then you can join us in demanding book 2!!