If anyone has ever witnessed the beautiful Lipizzan stallions at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and the fascinating “Airs Above The Ground” that those gorgeous white stallions perform, they might have an inkling of why Caitlin Brennan chose to make them gods in her wonderful fantasy The Mountain’s Call.
The Mountain has issued the Call. For those who hear and feel it, it is a beacon to bring them to the Mountain and the white stallions. The gods reside in the bodies of the horses and to be a Rider is to help influence time and the future. In thousands of years, no woman has ever been called until this year and this woman will be destined to influence the fate of the empire.
Valeria hears the Call and can’t deny what she is meant to do. Knowing that no woman has ever been chosen, she disguises herself as a boy and heads to the Mountain. She is saved from an attack by Kerrac, a senior Rider and meets a barbarian prince, Euan, in a caravan. They’re the only two who know she’s female. She makes it through all the tests of the Called and proves her worth. In one moment of acclaim, she is revealed and loses it all.
A plot is brewing to overthrow the empire and the enemy might have just received the perfect instrument for destruction. Valeria must find a way to overcome the anger and resentment she feels for the traditions of the Riders or she might destroy the only things that have always accepted her, the white gods.
Ms. Brennan has done a great job creating a world full of magic and intrigue. Her characters are complex with emotions that run out of control. Valeria is a complicated woman who knows what she wants and deserves which is the respect of the Riders and the right to ride with them. While she might be confused over who she loves, she has see the patterns and understands her choices. Both Kerrac and Euan are interesting heroes. They are as complicated as Valeria and each are strong enough to match her strength. Ms. Brennan has woven into the background the true heroes of the story, the white stallions of the Mountains. It is their ‘hoof prints’ that touch each page and journey that Valeria makes and it is their knowledge of the Dance that will bring the climax to a churning head. They become more than just gods in this story, they become real.
The Mountain’s Call is a marvelous fantasy with all the right elements to make it great, intrigue, love and magic. Run out, pick up this offering from Ms. Brennan and join in the Dance. Then wait impatiently for the next installment of Valeria’s journey.