Rivals Lucas’ & Herbert’s Epics!
Author Lyra Shanti is a remarkably gifted Master Storyteller, as I discovered some months ago in another brilliant novel of hers: “The Rainbow Serpent”. The introductory chapter for her Sci-Fi space drama, “Shiva XIV” (Book I), set in a faraway galaxy, rivals—and in many places exceeds—one’s expectations from those epic tales presented by the likes of George Lucas (Star Wars) and Frank Herbert (Dune)!
The Shiva saga begins with the birth of a child named Ayn, an enlightened being dubbed Shiva XIV, Bodayana of his civilization. This reincarnation of a god/king grows up pampered, sheltered, and secluded—much as the Dalai Lamas were treated in days of old. Continually catered to and overseen by an order of priests and monks who strongly resemble those inhabiting certain Buddhist monasteries here on Earth, Ayn grows up feeling stifled and very much alone. His loneliness is not made easier by the unusual birth defect he suffers, and the young Bodayana wonders if he will ever be accepted by his subjects should his secret somehow be revealed.
Ayn’s only companions as he grows into his teenage years have been his priestly caretakers, in particular Medhi Lan and Pei who love him dearly and will do anything to help the fragile and uncertain Bodayana reclaim his past life, prepare for his upcoming coronation, and secure his reign over the galaxy. But other factions are plotting against Ayn and the current regime, and in a brazen attack on the palace, the young Bodayana’s entire world is shattered. With his life completely changed in the blink of an eye, Ayn find himself spirited away by an unlikely savior who then joins him as he runs from those enemies who have sworn to destroy him.
In “Shiva XIV” (Book I), Lyra Shanti guides us on a frantic and difficult journey to amazing worlds where the inhabitants are not always who or what they seem. The complexity of her characters, who are steeped in ethnicity and rich in individuality, the constructed history of the races she has created, and the intricacy of the civilizations she has built, become so tangible, the reader will feel as though they should rush to Ayn’s rescue by booking transport on the very next spaceship leaving for the Un galaxy! The author’s vision especially shines through in her ability to convince her readers that such exotic worlds, and the denizens that inhabit them, really do exist, and by the time the last chapter arrives—all too soon, I might add—one cannot deny that—in a galaxy far, far away—Ayn’s story might just be playing out at this very moment!
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