Title: “Kynship” – “The Way of Thorn & Thunder” #1
Author: Daniel Heath Justice
Publication Date: September 2005
Number of Pages: 220
Kynship tells of the Everland, home of the forest-dwelling Kyn and the other Eld-Folk since time immemorial, a deep green world of ancient mystery and sacred shadow. The wyr-powers of the Kyn and the other Eld Folk have preserved this lush region from the ravenous imperialism of Humanity for over a thousand years, but those powers are now under siege, as the assimilationist Kyn Shields seek to purge their people of the wyr, seeing only savagery in its mysteries and in its guardians, the Wielders. As the power of the Shields grows—and as the hungry eyes of Men turn once more to the Everland and its rich bounty—the leaders of the seven nations of the Folk gather in Sheynadwiin, the Kyn capital, to seek a way of surviving the growing storm.
Born into a town dominated by the Shield creeds, Tarsa’deshae, a headstrong Kyn warrior, awakens to the long-suppressed wyr -ways after an act of courage goes horribly awry. Exiled from Red Cedar Town, and struggling to understand her new calling as a Wielder, Tarsa is swept into a dangerous world of political and spiritual struggle, where the old wyr-ways of the Greenwalkers clash with the fragmenting intrigues of the “civilized” Shields and their allies. As the Everland is torn apart by treachery and the ever-encroaching threat of Humanity, the Redthorn warrior arrives at the Sevenfold Council in Sheynadwiin to help find a way to heal the ravages of her wounded world.
The fragile days of peace are at an end…
Source: Daniel Heath Justice’s web site
Kynship is the first book in Justice’s “The Way of Thorn and Thunder” trilogy and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved both the world building and the characters in the story. Justice does a great job describing Everland and it’s inhabitants. While there are a few larger sections of descriptions and narrative he keeps it interesting by making it flow with the rest of the story he is telling. It never feels like he’s stopping to tell us about something in Everland – it’s alway something we need to understand in order to understand the characters as well as the culture.
While the story follows one main set of characters there are several side characters who end up either joining the main characters or their actions become important later on. I never really felt distracted by the jumps in point of view as it all flowed together really well. There are a lot of characters and different groups to keep track of but the author has provided a glossary of “Names and Other Stories” which does a great job of filling in information that is important to understand the story fully.
In an interview Justice, explains how his background influenced the novel:
Many aspects of my background influenced this story and its motivations. As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, I wanted to tell the kind of epic fantasy that I’d love to read – namely, a tale rooted in the lands, languages, and socio-political contexts of this hemisphere, not those of northern Europe. As a pro-feminist man heavily influenced by strong women in my past and present, I also wanted to tell a story that takes seriously the power and strength of women of various perspectives, ages, and body types. And as a queer man, I wanted my story to be one that offered a range of emotional and erotic possibilities for characters, across lines of sexuality, gender, and race. Ultimately, I wanted my books to reflect the diversity, complexity, and nuance of the world I inhabit, and to take these qualities seriously.
Read the full Interview with Daniel Heath Justice
I think he does a great job of all of the above. Most importunely it’s a story told from the non-white perspective. I’ve enjoyed learning about the characters in the story and their world. Everything about it is worth learning about and understanding. Tarsa’deshae, the main character, is an awesome female character – as are the other women in the book – something you don’t see often in fantasy. It also tells the
I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy – and wants an alternative to “Lord of the Rings”. Be advised, each book follows directly after the other so you may want to buy all three at once. Also, Amazon currently only has the first two books available – you may want to buy the books directly from the publisher (Kegedonce Press) instead.
You might also read this article from NativeWiki which describes the themes in Kynship in detail – I’ve linked directly to the theme section – don’t scroll up if you don’t want to read spoilers for the plot.
I’m unable to find any reviews from other book bloggers, which is disappointing as I think it’s an awesome book to read. However, there are reviews on the author’s web site