The Shining Isle by Ly de Angeles © 2006


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    The Shining Isle  by  Ly de Angeles  © 2006   Llewellyn  ISBN  0-7387-0834-7                 293 pages Includes Glossary, Appendix and References   Paperback  $14.95 (U.S.) $19.95 (Canada)

    Ms. De Angeles tells cracking good stories about The Travelers, a group of people (shapeshifters, the fey, and dreamers).  She began their tales with The Quickening.  This story is not exactly a sequel to that book however.

    This is her second “urban fantasy” and, personally, I hope there are more to come.  The smoothness of her storytelling, the apparently effortless combination of 21st century life with that of the Sidhe, and the Old Gods, makes this a series which can be read on several levels from simply a good story to a way to inspire a closer connection with ancestral beliefs.  There is less “urban” in this book than in the previous one.  Most of the action occurs on the island of Inishrun, with only an occasional foray into the city of Rathsmore.  And I suppose it depends on how you define “fantasy.”  So, maybe “urban fantasy” isn’t the best way to describe the book.  But, it is probably the most accurate since it occurs in the “real world” and not some other realm.

    She displays an impressive ability to meld seemingly disparate elements into an entertaining story, with enough realism to make it believable.  The last time around she blended the worlds of Wicca, Christianity and Voodoo (among other elements) seamlessly into a good story.  This time she blends the life on an insular group of island people with the interests of academia and the business world.  Talk about very different points of views!

    We discover some of the history of Connor and some of the other Travelers.  But it really isn’t possible to do justice to almost a millennium of existence among humanity without the love and companionship of one’s own kind, as Connor has endured.  But this is only a small part of the overall story.

    The story of Samhain, needfires, the Sidhe; and the Tuatha de Danann are all part and parcel of this story, and Ly tells it in a way which makes it come alive, as much as the written word can.  And that is another of the truths to be learned from the continuing story of The Travelers.  There are many truths revealed, and even more are hinted at.

     

    Ms. De Angeles has found an entertaining way to pass along knowledge which has been slowly disappearing from our world for centuries.  For most readers her stories will be just that – stories.  Some readers will question whether some of the things could be true.  And a few readers will find the reality, and recall the way it once was.

    There are a few surprises in this book, not the least of which is the inclusion, after the story ends, of the entire text of the “United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.”  Ms. De Angeles also includes a “Glossary of unusual terms” which allows her to use some Gaelic words in the text without having to break the narrative flow to explain them.  She also supplies some Internet references to explain the way of life followed by many of the characters in this novel.  I wouldn’t have expected these inclusions in a “normal” novel, but they were certainly a welcome addition.

     

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