CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 21. . . .June 13, 2008
Possession. (The Runestone Saga, Book III).
New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf (Distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada), 2008.
369 pp., hc. & GLB, $20.99 (hc.), $24.99 (GLB).
ISBN 978-0-375-83294-9 (hc.), ISBN 978-0-375-93294-6 (GLB).
Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up.
Review by Ronald Hore.
Reviewed from Advance Reader's Copy.
Every creature Sky had inhabited had also partly inhabited him. The hawk, the wolf, each had their distinct ways of being, urges that drove them. Both of them longed to hunt, to kill. In the past Sky had let them have their way, get the taste of still-pulsing flesh into jaws or beak. Sated, the beast was more easily mastered, bent to his will. And surrendering to an animal's instincts– what a rush!
But a weasel's very different, Sky thought. Curiosity had to be a major characteristic of the species–the bloody thing just wouldn't keep still! There was always something it wanted to see–over here! Over there!–and once seen, give it a damn good sniffing! Sky thought he'd just be able to curl up in a corner of St. Mark's Church Hall, watch and learn. But there was no resting in a weasel. And trying to stop it was harder than letting go.
Possession is the third, and possibly last, book in the adventures of the characters who dwell within the "Runestone Saga." The first and second books in the series are The Fetch and Vendetta. According to the author, a Fetch is the apparition, double, or wraith of a living person.
While it is not necessary to have read the previous volumes, it certainly helps to clarify what is going on. The story centres around a young man in England, Sky, and his older cousin Kristin and their efforts to stop Sky's dead grandfather Sigurd and his plans for a new world order. The book opens with Sky's Fetch in possession of the body of a hawk and his actual body in a coma and taken to a hospital. The first thing they must do is get Sky's Fetch back into his own body without alerting the authorities. Even Sky's parents don't know what is going on, but they are suspicious of the amount of time Sky has been spending with Kristin. She is the only one who knows what is happening, the only one in whom Sky has confided.
Sigurd has taken possession of another body and is advertising seminars on discovering the mysteries of one's true self. Through the use of Viking Runes and modern technology using subliminal projections on screens during his lectures, Sigurd is gathering followers that he can control. Sigurd has the power to move between bodies; he has Hells Angels as bodyguards, and followers who also have the power to move their Fetch into animal forms. Sigurd cares little about the lives of those around him, including his grandson, and plans nothing less than the altering of history. He intends to bring about Ragnarok, the final battle, and the destruction of the world.
To combat Sigurd's growing power and to prepare for their confrontation, Sky and Kristin use the runes to travel back in time along the family bloodlines, seeking the knowledge that Sigurd possesses. They face death while in the possession of Meg, an accused witch, and in Matthew, a Puritan witchfinder. In the end, they return to one of the scenes in the first book: Vikings in York England in the year 1066. The choice Sigurd offers Sky is between everlasting life or death.
Possession wraps up the complicated plot lines and concludes "The Runestone Saga." The series would appeal to someone with an interest in history and flows at a good pace to hold the reader's interest. The descriptions of the possession and past lives are vivid. Not a book for someone who does not like the idea of psychic mysteries, possessions of other creatures and people, or descriptions of violent acts.
Well-written, imaginative, with an overview of magic and history, the book should appeal to a wide range of fans of the fantasy genre. While I have only seen an Advance Reader's Copy, it appears that in final form the book will contain two maps and a few pages of the author's comments at the end.
Ronald Hore, involved with writer's groups and writer's workshops for several years, retired from the business world in Winnipeg, MB.
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