In her acknowledgment page D. Wallace Peach writes how Cathleen Townsend, a beta reader and editor challenged her to write a book “with one beautiful character, not someone physically stunning, but someone with a beautiful heart, a truly good person.”
Taking up the challenge, D. Wallace Peach created the royal daughter Aster, a sweet, innocent and fearless girl who was born dead but brought to life by Barus, an old, slight, crippled man who practices the art of bringing the dead back to life through necromancy.
Necromancy: The Summoning, Manipulation, and Resurrection of the Dead.
Barus, learned the art of necromancy through Olma, the woman who’d rescued his abandoned body in the woods and her book of herbal craft.
When Barus is summoned by the King of Verdant to save his dying wife, the Queen and the child she bares, the Queen begs the King to allow her to die but to save the baby. Upon discovering that the baby is a girl King Aldring abandons her and Barus steals her and brings her up as his child.
The loving bond between Aster and Barus is one of the most touching and beautiful father/daughter relationships in literature. This is expressed in letters which Barus wrote while separated from Aster:
You were my first attempt at necromancy that mattered. I knew then that you would become my snow fairy and transform my lonely days with your bright spirit.
Aster learns this skill of using herbs, poisonous distillates, incantations and human blood to resuscitate the dead.
In a later letter, Barus explains to Aster how her mother, the princess of Blackrock’s marriage to King Aldring was a political exchange and how she entered this world through an act of sacrifice.
When King Aldring is close to death, he must find an heir and so he seeks out Aster and brings her to his palace.
From there, the novel turns into an adventure where Aster escapes, crossing borders into Catticut where she encounters dragons and much hardship. The forest of silver cats lay between her and the mountains of Blackrock – her mother’s homeland – where Aster hopes to find Barus still alive.
This is a story of a young woman’s courage, hope, and loyalty.
Besides the plot, the novel shines with its exquisite, poetic descriptions.
Much has been written about this novel both through her 10 day book tour.
and her many 5 star reviews of the book on Amazon.
D. Wallace Peach has succeeded in creating a beautiful character, not someone physically stunning, but someone with a beautiful heart, a truly good person. One of literature’s heroines.
Finally, I was most impressed by D. Wallace Peach’s talent and vivid imagination.