Parallel Worlds, a heavily illustrated fantasy copyright and written by Clark Kneuker.
The story opens in Aberfoyle, Scotland in 1692. The Reverend Kirk is giving a sermon to his parishioners warning them of the danger the sleigh maithe (the fair folk or fairies) offer in that they constantly are attempting to ‘steal man’s soul’. He explained that this was happening because of Lilith. According to a medieval Hebrew text, this beautiful, talented voluptuous first wife of Adam unfortunately had no soul and thus was replaced by Eve as the ‘mother of man’. Further he told them that she no longer appears in Genesis because either the scholars were unable to grasp her reality or were unable to understand and explain the contradiction between this knowledge and the accepted existence of Eve. However, the displaced Lilith was enormously enraged because of her replacement and swore to take the souls from man and give this gift of eternal life only to good people of her domain. Her desires and abilities had been passed down to these fair people who inhabited the parallel world entered only through knothole-like areas such as existed in the massive pine ‘fairy tree’ atop nearby Doon Hill that was known as Fairy Knowe. The good reverend had been studying the manner in which the fairies had been going and coming and decided one evening to follow into their world. To appear as a ghost he donned his long white night shirt and boots and during his attempt, a trap that Khalen, King of Failius, the first of the four Kingdoms of the parallel world, had set, is sprung and Kirk is caught. The trap is a much advanced technical ability to harness energy. Khalen, not wishing to make a martyr of the minister, decided to take only his soul and imprison it in the tree on Fairy Knowe until he was ready to take it as his own, even though Kirk argued he could not do so because it was not physical. Khalen explained that he could because although its mass and electrical charge was small the gene was buried deep within his DNA and when he died it escaped his body. Thus he was able to capture it. Kirk attempted to fight back but was completely under the control forces that Khalen was able to bring to bear since his domain of Falius was the oldest created and thus contained all of the basic electromagnetic energy for this or any other desired task.
From this initiating activity the reader, unlike the average individual trudging daily through his/her work-a-day life, is delivered into the fascinatingly bright and different parallel world and its captivatingly portrayed residents. Here he/she are introduced to all of the domains and their capital cities, rulers and residents: Murias a land built over the ocean and ruled by Lady Viviene where you must open your heart to your own feelings as well as that of others; Finias, a blue dome covered oasis ruled by the sun goddess Brighid where light is perpetual and the residents warm hearted; Gorias ruled by King Odin is a city of air between two mountains and is a domain where deep thought and intellectual pursuits are most prominent. The author also provides information as to the existence of political activity within this realm. There are the Tolerant Party and the Raptorial that attempts to intimidate others. Numerous other characters also are encountered such as Hughes de Payens, the first Grand Master of the Knights Templar of the Crusades and his followers who now are assigned to guard the Gates of Hell, and others including trolls, pixies and more. And this first volume serves only as an introduction to this wonderful world that the author opens and continues exploring through three more volumes with the now enchanted reader.
Discussion: The existence of a parallel world or worlds has been a subject of discussion for numerous years and most of the conjecture has been with respect to its existence. Only occasional thought has been applied to its contents and inhabitants. One of the few who have ventured to go beyond and take a look at what might occur within such a world, amusingly perhaps, was Louis L’Amour, the extremely successful western novelist who in several of his novels provided a hint as to such activity. The present author, however, has reached far beyond what previously has been given readers. He has set forth the first really ‘in depth’ look at what really might be taking place in this often conjectured strange new world. He has provided a tale where religious and historical fact are intricately interwoven with sci-fi and fanciful characters in a remarkably intriguing manner most enlightening for the reader. This first volume by this new author is a captivating provision of further material permitting better understanding of this long discussed but little understood addition to our known world. The large number of fascinating illustrations furnished by the talented modern impressionism artist adds greatly to the charm provided by this truly talented author of fantasy as he has set forth a tale that makes the reader impatient for arrival of the next volume in the series.
5* Captivating fantasy by talented new author.