Angel Bone

The Story

Viv’s pledge to care for a child means delaying her search for her mother and the beautiful Thris.  She nicknames the little girl Poss and heads for Esh-accom, where Poss’s surviving family might be. But Poss falls ill and, desperate to save the little girl, Viv takes a terrible risk, and is captured.  

To make matters worse, her captor is the man she escaped from earlier. He aids Poss but Viv must make a terrible bargain to secure their release.

Poss is untrusting, but love slowly grows between them. The journey is dangerous and, as they near Esh-accom’s safety, they are overtaken by Waradi fighters. Viv manages to hide Poss, but is seized and they take her with them. When the Waradi are caught by their Eshadi pursuers, the Eshadi leader believes Viv’s their ally. Prevented from executing her on the spot, he condemns her to a slower, more painful death.

Thris struggles to care for Ky in Ezam, but Ky is so traumatised by the folds, he flees and accidentally transits again. Thris pursues him and they find themselves in a fold where the only way out bears all the signs of a death-trap. Ash is unaware of his friends’ plight.  Lost in the White Helixai’s mesmerising light, the words of his blue angel predecessor, Senquar-archae, that light is the lure and light the trap, might well prove prophetic.

The Idea

The Angel Caste series follows the journeys of both humans and angels as they explore what it means to be human and divine.  Some of the quest journeys are human-focussed, and others angel-focussed. Viv's journey is more of a conventional hero quest, as she travels through different worlds in search of her mother.  As her guide, Thris moves between the demands of her quest, and his angelic obligations in Ezam, as does Ky initially. Ash's quest is more of an angelic one confined to Ezam.

Thris undergoes a rebirth after the beastman attack, as does Ky after he and Thris are trapped in Maze Fold. It is Ky who procures his and Thris's escape by memorising their route and counting their steps. It also provides him with a strategy to use in the Bokos to aid his and Ash's ascendance.  Giving up his role as Shadow is part of the break Ky makes with his mentor and former life.

Part of Ash's struggle is to discover the significance of being Ezam's only blue angel, and why he has signs of ascendence while still a lowly Dane. After his testing by the Blue and Red Helixais, he knows he must visit the White and Green Helixais to advance his quest.

The Secondary World

Angel Bone takes place in a range of folds. Maze Fold, where Ky and Thris become trapped, is a maze composed of smooth black marble, with hostile apparitions of green vapor that prevent the angels flying out. The centre of the maze is a lotus flower-strewn pool, which hides a water rift.

In the Rynth, Thris recommences his search for Viv, and briefly revisits Hearth, Moth and Beast Folds before returning to The Wheel, this time near the Leferen. 

Ash becomes lost for time in the White Helixai's pristine pools of light, before he visits the Green Helixai. He remembers it as gleaming green stone, but it is now rank with vegetation and decay. He falls through the sludge to its heart, but unlike the Blue, Red and White Helixai, that have stone slabs at their cores, the Green has an intricately arranged pile of bones. 

The Music

Ash's journey (he's on the cover) is the most overtly spiritual of the characters, and I've always enjoyed this song for its spiritual joy. While it praises the Prophet Muhammad, and Angel Caste isn't religious (Christian or otherwise), it is spiritual, and the music is a good fit for the angels' love of the Great Beyond.

The Beloved - Yusuf and Youssou N'Dour(An other cup).

Deep Fantasy

Thris's need to care for Ky keeps him in Ezam until Ky's terror results in them being stranded in Maze Fold.  This maze is a microcosm of Ezam and forces each to take the next steps in their journeys.  Ky calls on a skill he doesn't know he has to keep them safe as they search for a way out. This finally delivers them to the centre of the maze.  

The pool, with its sacred, blue-tipped water lilies, is a mandala, a spiritual symbol of wholeness (and feminine when contrasted to the maze. Eg the mandala is circular, has fertile sludge, and an umbilical cord of twisted water lily stems). Water often symbolises the unconscious, as it does on this occasion, and after they 'count' their way out, aided by the umbilical cord of water lily stems,  Ky emerges back into Ezam a different angel.

Ash becomes trapped in the White Helixai's light, which again is oriented towards the rational, and is freed by Thris's need in Beast Fold, which delivers a piercing shaft of green light. Green/growing reminds Ash that he must attend to his physical needs to attain wholeness, and the Green Helixai is a seething mass of life. The bones he finds are organic and a further reminder that angels are flesh and blood, not just spirit/intellect. 

Thris and Viv both experience violence in Wheel Fold, Thris's brutalisation, like the fighting, is a manifestation of the deeper malaise that afflicts the fold.  

Viv's rape undoes the progress she's made towards wholeness, especially in terms of trust. She can no longer harmonise, a skill Thris taught her to integrate her human and angelic elements, and her anger and aggression surge back. The damage inflicted by the rapist is worsened by the brutality of the Eshadi leader, but Sehereden, the Eshadi leader's lein (blood-brother) offers kindness, and the potential of a loving relationship. 

For the first time in her life, Viv is also offered a home, by Tahsin, the elderly owner of a sett. This is the first, positive father-figure Viv has encountered and, along with the potential of a positive relationship with Sehereden, and her love for Poss, gives her hope. 

These experiences and opportunities test Viv's ability to make the choices she needs to make to achieve wholeness.

Happy reading.