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REVIEW

"A SF&F Anthology about Otherworldly Connections"

"Isadora" by Jeanne Allen explores what ifs. Lovers of time travel know that the cardinal rule of the backward travel is to observe without causing affect. One can only imagine what they would find upon returning to the present should major changes in history occur. The same rules have been applied to space travelers happening upon a less advanced culture. What if you put these two concepts together to form a multi universe in which parallel worlds exist for every scenario beyond each major decision or event? This is a fascinating concept explored in this tale.

Isadora lives in a post cataclysm world, a millennium beyond the time when the wrath of God was thought to have been brought down on the sinners of the City of Rubble. Her society is beyond the survival phase, and has moved into reestablishing culture and religion, in this case according to Alder. Alderwood will remind one of Salem in those years of superstition, in which anyone who dared to be different was suspect. Isadora is one such woman.

As a child she had witnessed a tribunal witch trial and had been horrified. As she had grown she had begun to question the religious teachings of Alder, based on a no longer existing bible. She had turned to nature for her answers, and by studying the elements and the stars had developed stunning hypotheses which she records in her journal.

Enter Marcus, a drifter, from a place he can not explain. But unlike the others who would accuse her of witchcraft, he revels in her intellect and encourages her curiosity. With him she is not so alone. But he is a mystery, and disappears frequently without explanation. Often he brings back unexplained wonders to aid in her research. Love blooms, but Marcus knows his time in Alderwood is limited. Soon he must resume his life, and he knows he must leave Isa to her own destiny. Unfortunately his timing couldn't be worse, for in every society there are those who crave power and will do whatever is necessary to acquire it, even if it means destroying innocent lives. Isadora's differences have set her apart. Soon events will occur which will cast her in an unfavorable light, and the fate of their worlds will rest in one man's hands.

"Twin Star" by Jeanine Berry takes place on a gate world known as Arth, inhabited predominently by the Huymans. Sonneret is of an alien race known as the Dorshans who had been sent through a gate to Arth by God because their own world was dying. Other alien races had settled here as well, but the Huymans doubt the will of God is responsible. Most fear and despise the alien races and would prefer to send them back through the gate. That however proves to be impossible. The Dorshans who have psychic ability, had established their colony far from the din of unprotected Huyman thought. But the father of the current Akhilesh (Huyman ruler), had felt a need for conquest and had sent soldiers to enslave the Dorshans.

Sonneret's parents had been slaughtered, and she and her uncle had become slaves to the royal household in Lothar. Her uncle had since purchased their freedom, but now Sonneret was having dreams that the soldiers would soon return for her. She had been taught that such dreams always came to be, and that she could not fight fate.

Word comes that the young ruler Ehereon has divorced his wife. A Cinderella scenario ensues in which the eligible women of the kingdom are brought forth to his harem for trail. Ehereon's first marriage had been political and he'd been terribly lonely. He is determined that his new lifemate should make him happy. As per her premonition, Sonneret becomes part of the round up. She is certain that she will not be found pleasing, but that is not the case. Something unexpected occurs when they touch for the first time, a sharing of minds and souls that only occurs when one of her people finds their twin star, their mate for life. Each sees much to admire and respect in the other. But Sonneret's first loyalty is to her people, and she is reluctant to reveal anything about them that might be perceived as a threat to the Huyman's. Ehereon is kind and gentle but Sonneret's dreams indicate that her people will soon be banished from Lothar. She is determined that no act of hers will be the cause.

Caemer, Ehereon's best friend and companion is known to despise aliens. He waits for the appropriate moment of distrust to plant seeds of doubt in the ruler's mind. One moment of hurt, one rash act, and the potential for true love and the peace of their world would be destroyed. Can Sonneret change their fate by sheer will? Or will it take trust on both their parts to overcome their prejudice and fear.

"Eidolon" by Shannah Biondine is quite a bit different from the other stories. It definitely fits the theme if not the tone of the rest of the anthology. It is not a romance, but that is not to say that it is not enjoyable. It would have fit wonderfully into the Heaven and Hell anthology (Speculation Press, Jan. 2000). If you like irony and don't require a happy ending you may enjoy this tale.

Azubah is the devil's youngest sister. The two are embroiled in a bet which involves human integrity. If Azubah wins, Lucifer must repent and beg the Almighty for forgiveness, thereby restoring the entire clan to their former place of glory. When and if she loses, Lucifer destroys the town and all its inhabitants. Generally Azubah can not enlist the help of men with physical disadvantages in her schemes, although she has a definite soft spot for them. It's entirely too easy to persuade those in such desperate need. However this time Lucifer declares all humans fair game, and Azubah holds Haggerty, a clubfooted orphan on the precipice of manhood in reserve, in case her other prospects fail. Haggerty isn't used to woman treating him like a desirable man and develops a crush on her. Ironically her reticence to involve him in her wager backfires on her. He sees her dealings with other men as betrayal. One can't expect the devil to play fair, and soon Luce is mixing things up in town. As always things go terribly wrong with Azubah's plans, but the irony comes in at the very end of the story. I won't reveal the twist but suffice it to say the Lucifer isn't the devil for nothing.

"Thief of Dreams" by Sheri L. McGathy was perhaps my favorite of all of the stories. Nerys, the only daughter of Lord Devi is promised to Gerard Regan who views their betrothal as a favorable political alliance. He has not won the heart of the fair lady, nor has he tried, a fact which troubles her father. She was taking great pleasure in Camden Shire's Festival of the Oak, but Gerard's unwanted attentions come close to spoiling for it for her.

Young Cody O'Neal had at last returned home, a man grown. He had been sent to foster at the tender age of five to recover from the tragic loss of his older brother Colin, who had simply vanished one day. When his eyes lit upon Nerys, he knew he had fallen in love. When he looked at her he saw an angel rather than the means to gain wealth and power. Nerys is enchanted with the charming and handsome young man as well. Fortunately, Lord Devi's contract with Gerard's father had stipulated that the man must win Nery's heart. Jamys decrees that the two men must compete for his daughter's affection. At the end of a year she would chose the man she would wed.

Gerard is outraged. Though Nery's follows through on a promise to allow each man equal time to woo her, it is painfully obvious who the winner will be. Cody is sweet, gentle, and very romantic. One night he even introduced her to the magical realm inside a faery ring, but had exacted her promise that she would never enter one. Those who do, never return. As Samhain approached Gerard hatched a desperate plan to rid himself of his rival and force Nerys into wedlock. Cody disappeared without a trace. Though grief threatened to consume her, Nerys refused to give up on him. Just when all hope is exhausted, help comes from an unexpected quarter. Nerys must break one promise to keep another, to have and to hold the man that she loves for all time. This tale was truly magical.

Copyright 2003

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted April 22, 2003

SUMMARY

Twilight Crossings is an exciting anthology featuring novellas by four of the most intriguing new voices in fantasy and speculative fiction today?Jeanne Allen, Jeanine Berry, Shannah Biondine and Sheri L. McGathy.

Twilight...a time when reality blurs and a universe of infinite possibilities seems to shimmer before our bewitched eyes.

Twilight Crossings?four novellas that will transport you to dazzling new worlds...

 

Twilight Crossings
by Jeanne Allen, Shannah Biondine, Sheri L. McGathy, Jeanine Berry

Double Dragon
January 1, 2003
ISBN #1894841905
EAN #9781894841900
308 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Jeanne Allen

Twilight Crossings II
Twilight Crossings


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