Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Clive S. Johnson - Leiyatel's Embrace

Leiyatel’s Embrace
The Dica Series #1

By Clive S. Johnson

Product Description (from Amazon)
A finely wrought and exquisitely detailed Speculative Fiction Mystery set at the end of a castle kingdom's epoch long history. The arrival of a strange army at the gates marks the end of an era and the unravelling of a mystery. At its heart is Leiyatel – the Living Green Stone Tree - long the preserver of the realm of Dica. What is to be her fate and those who depend upon her?

A highly original and intricately imagined world, the ancient castle kingdom of Dica has slowly declined to a somnolent shadow of its illustrious past but changes are in the wind, heralded by the sudden arrival of a mysterious army.

A complex tale unfolds as Lord Nephril, Dica’s Master of Ceremonies, and his oddly assorted companions strive to uncover not only who is then arrayed at their gates, but how their realm might be restored. What comes to light is a multi-layered fabric of interwoven interests and conflicts, an absorbing rebirth of ancient myth and legend, as alive and immediate now as in its dim and distant past.

At its heart is Leiyatel – the Living Green Stone Tree – preserver of the realm’s fortune and wondrous creation of the ancient Engers of Bazarral. What is to be her own fortune, though, and in whose hands will it finally rest? How will the disparate interests of Dican royalty, of Galgaverre’s Guardian, of the ancient Bazarran Stewards and of Leiyatel herself play out within Nature’s own domain?

The story culminates in a fascinating climax and deeply satisfying conclusion that will particularly appeal to those who like a rich and involving read.

Readers who enjoy this story may like to know that the author’s next work is coming soon. ‘Of Weft and Weave’ is equally original, set in the same world and, strangely enough, at the same time and with most of the same characters.

About the Author (from Amazon)
     Clive Johnson was born in Yorkshire in the UK, Bradford in fact, in the mid-1950's but was lured away by the bright lights of Manchester in the seventies to acquire a degree in electronics. Torn between the arts (a natural and easy artist) and the sciences (struggled with maths) teenage rationality favoured science for recompense leaving art for pleasure.
     Twenty years implementing technologies for mainframe computer design followed by the mind-numbingly prosaic tedium of being a Group IT Manager for an international print company finally led, after a corporate takeover, to the freedom and simple pleasure of motorway incident support and a return to the arts.
     A late seventies manuscript was unearthed during loft improvements and one thing led to another, a naïve and inexpert seed given benefit of mature loam in which to grow, and Leiyatel's Embrace steadily blossomed.
This biography was provided by the author or their representative.

Find out more about the author:
O.Scarlett! Review by Tenya
Follow a pair of old, eccentric souls, Falmeard and Nephril, along with their younger counterpart, Pettar, on their journey through the vast reaches of Dica.  Finding a way for this once great kingdom to defend itself against the foreign army which suddenly appears at its gates is only the immediate need.  The underlying need is their quest to unravel the mysteries of their own identities and discover themselves within the context of the power which sustains Dica, the Living Green Stone Tree -  Leiyatel.  Discover villains, obvious and hidden, and unexpected heroes within this enchanting work.
This book won’t smack you in the face with vast battle scenes where a cast of thousands fights to a bitter end or with wizardly effects to baffle the senses.  It’s a slow simmer which leads the reader through a tastefully woven plot of intrigue gradually urging one into a galloping pace that must be kept through the last chapters to uncover the truth – the great mystery of a dying realm and the winds of change sweeping in upon it.
I downloaded Leiyatel’s Embrace as a way of supporting a fellow indie author with whom I’d causally connected on Twitter.  The description pulled me into the pages because I wanted to read some bit of modern fantasy without supercilious wizardry and sword-play.  Thankfully, I pursued the read! More than one reason makes me glad I did.  Not only did I have the gratifying experience of reading a superbly crafted piece of fiction, but I have also gotten to know its author by the reading and through our internet interaction.  Truly, it has been a pleasure!
In all fairness, I was more than ultimately pleased with this book; therefore, I shall sound as if I gush with enthusiasm over its attributes.  I must also admit that my admiration is not for the quality of the writing alone, but also for the author, Clive Johnson, a fine person.  All writers amputate pieces of themselves, grafting it into their works.  Johnson’s writings are no exception; in fact, they are a fine example of the author’s personality glimmering throughout the story.  Therefore, for my part, the reading carried a unique perspective.
 His rhythmic writing style captivated me from the first line with a musical quality that truly spoke to my poet’s soul.  Savoring beautifully written passages, reading many over multiple times just for the pure flowing enjoyment of it, resulted in a very slow read for me.  Taken at a slower pace does fit the tenor of this manuscript, for the story unfolds layer upon layer to reveal the mystery hidden deftly by the author.
Leiyatel’s Embrace felt like something old and familiar, a worn sweater or the 53rd reading of Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe.  The multi-faceted characters remained fresh but friendly, old acquaintances that consistently surprise the reader with a new and charming quirk of personality.  Building an original world, a difficult literary task for any writer, comes across effortlessly for Clive Johnson.  Undoubtedly however, this is a life’s work, a deep stretching of the author’s fiber, which makes  the knowledge that the follow-up book, Of Weft and Weave, is already available nearly unfathomable to me.  I anticipate sinking comfortably into that tale soon!
The circular pattern of the work thrilled me as the author neatly and seamlessly pins the end to the beginning.  This is a must to read over again and again, if for no other reason than the pleasure of the words themselves and the enrichment these characters, now old friends, add to life.
To conclude, I cannot find enough buttons labeled “like” or stars to press or kind words to write in order to adequately express my vast enjoyment of this epic mystery. 
Genre/Theme:  Fantasy, Epic, Mystery, Quest
Reading Level:  TEEN and up - depending upon reading skill.  This is not easy to read because many archaic terms are utilized by the author and it is highly stylized and poetic.  I found myself looking up more than one word during this read.  This is a fun way to broaden your vocabulary.
Profanity:  Moderately Low - one minor character has a bit of a bad mouth, but it fits his persona.  I can only remember one instance where one of the main characters used some rather colorful language.
Sexuality:  NONE - although there are some casual and short references to attraction between a couple of characters, it is most chaste.
Other:  Many people would find this a difficult read, but if you love Tolkein's work or C.S. Lewis, you will most likely enjoy this book.  Fans of traditional fantasy should give it a try.  On average, I would rate this as needing a strong high school level reading skill set.  This is a long book, so be willing to take your time.

1 comment:

  1. Great and detailed review! You have expressed exactly my thoughts about this wonderful book! Hope it has great seccess as it deserves to be read'


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