In a world where magic is just a whispered rumor of an ancient past, any hint of this lost power is met with derision, fear, and anger. For a boy on the edge of manhood, and a girl near the same age, magic will soon come to define their lives, though in two very different ways.
Raziel, his past clouded by rage and a thirst for revenge, and Alicia, her own origins equally uncertain, are thrown together by circumstances seemingly beyond their control. Though not allies, they soon come to realize that traveling together may be the only way they can survive, at least until they find a way to pierce the veil of emotion that shrouds where they came from, and where they are going.
In a kingdom united under a steady ruler, any magic allowed to roam free threatens to upend that peace, though the eradication of such forces soon becomes overshadowed by the power that same magic offers. Sought not only by the emperor but also his underlings, the magic these children possess may maintain that peace; or bring it to a terrible end, despite any best intentions originally espoused.
So, Raziel, and the mysterious sword that grants him the strength and skill of twenty men, and Alicia, whose powers of the mind can be used for good or ill in an instant of indecision, find themselves pursued across the land, their own journey toward truth and peace met with lies and horrific violence at every turn. If they are to survive, remember and accept their tumultuous histories, and even become victorious against foes both from inside and without, they must learn to understand each other, and the power that burns inside them.
Lavishly detailed, A Canticle of Two Souls is nonetheless a tightly-woven tale. The reader is dragged along quite the same as our two stalwart protagonists, to a dramatic and satisfying end. The author is an easy hand with the English language, describing everything from raindrops on steel to a nightmarish dreamscape with equal aplomb. The only quibble this reader could mention, and a minor one at that, is that certain subjects and themes are covered repeatedly, to the point where one might begin to wonder if the plot is stuck in a roundabout. Other than that, this is an enjoyable and promising first novel in what is rapidly becoming a series.