‘The mysteries of a woman’s heart cannot be measured; they are as the expanse of time and space, endless and unknowable.’
- The Espial Franco Rohre, while posing
as a minstrel in the Veneisean court
Cephrael's Hand: A Pattern of Shadow and Light is full of mysteries and hints at worlds we will never completely explore or ever hope to fully understand. Cephrael's Hand is also the first book of a series and has a serious amount of scene-setting to deliver. Melissa has usefully added a detailed glossary and cast at the start of the book. I found I had to refer back to if often, as there is an amazing cast of eighty characters to remember - as well as the Gods of the Akkad.
Melissa says she would love readers of her ebook version to experience a fully searchable map, that would fly up in three dimensions any time they clicked on a place name. One day we will take this for granted but in 2013 you will need to keep referring back to the beautifully drawn two-dimensional maps to understand the where and the what of her characters’ journeys through the realm of Alorin. (Melissa's amazing maps were drawn by UK artist Andy 'Ramah' Palmer and Oregon photographer and graphic designer Brandon Lidgard).
For me, the most enchanting aspect of Cephrael's Hand is how Melissa has drawn on her love of Eastern philosophies. The subtitle of the book is A Pattern of Shadow and Light and the balance between the light and the dark provide a unifying thread through this work. It also offers a rich vein of tension when the realm of Alorin is out of balance. Lives are in the gravest of danger if balance is not restored, for in its waning rises a most terrible threat...
Melissa McPhail lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, their twin daughters and two very large cats. A classically trained pianist, violinist and composer, Melissa is also a Vinyasa yoga instructor and an avid fantasy reader. A long-time student of philosophy, she is passionate about the fantasy genre because of its philosophical explorations. Visit Melissa's website: http://melissamcphail.com/ and follow her on twitter at @melissagmcphail