Please give Karin Rita Gastreich a warm welcome! I had the pleasure of meeting Karin this summer at ConQuest 43, and I've been trying to work out getting her on the blog ever since. Our schedules (mainly mine) didn't end up with that working out until today, and I'm SO EXCITED! to have her here!!
So let's meet her book, Eolyn! And then you get to hear about High Magic (and how cool is it that she has a Caradoc in her book too?!)
Publisher: Hadley Rille Books
Number of pages: 325
Word Count: approximately 118,000
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“Vigorously told deceptions and battle scenes. . . with a romantic thread." – Publishers Weekly
In Eolyn’s world, High Magic is a form of knowledge and power that was gifted by the gods to Aithne and Caradoc.
These two lovers of ancient times learned the techniques of Simple and Middle Magic by 'listening' to the world around them: to the plants, animals, rivers, and stones. In this way, Aithne and Caradoc were able to use the knowledge of the natural world to heal and provide for their people.
Their achievements caused dissention among the gods, and a great conflict arose between deities who admired Aithne and Caradoc, and those who felt threatened by them. The gods who supported the practice of magic by humans sent Dragon to grant Aithne and Caradoc the staves with which they eventually mastered High Magic. (This legend is told in my novel, and if you’d like to hear more an audio recording is available on the blog for Eolyn.)
In every generation that has followed, practitioners who become adept at Simple and Middle Magic must petition the gods for their staff. The petitioner generally spends time alone fasting in the forest, and at the end of his or her retreat Dragon appears in the form of an animal of the wild, with instructions as to what elements are to be incorporated into the staff. If Dragon does not appear, it means the gods have denied the initiate's petition to learn High Magic.
The three or four elements that go into each individual’s staff are unique. For example, one maga's staff may be made of cherry wood, with a crystal of amethyst and the feather of a thrush. Another may be made of oak with a crystal of smoky quartz and the wings of a dragonfly. Each staff is thus tailored to its user, and it is difficult --though not impossible -- for one practitioner to use the staff of another.
Staves in Eolyn’s world are said to be 'forged' because the integration of the elements that make them is achieved in a sacred fire prepared by the tutor of the initiate. With a staff, the mage or maga can draw on very deep powers of the earth to accomplish many feats of magic and illusion, such as flight, shape shifting, the invocation of sound wards and vision wards, and the deflection of flying objects such as arrows (which comes in pretty handy). They can also invoke a variety of flames for ceremonial purposes, or as in the case of Mage Warriors, for use on the battle field.
Among Eolyn’s people, magic is an evolving craft. High Mages and Magas try to push magic beyond the traditional limits of their predecessors. Eolyn and Akmael, for example, have certain powers that develop during the course of the novel. One of their ongoing challenges, as individuals and companions, is to recognize these abilities and make proper use of them.
Best of all, High Magic has a mind of its own. So, while certain rules do apply, magic can occasionally slip outside of the boundaries imposed by its practitioners and act in ways that are entirely unexpected.
commentors throughout the tour.
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