Claudette Young was a freelance reviewer in Burlington, Ontario.
Life in the primitive society on earth in the Year of Freedom 242 is relatively simple. This all changes when, en route to a yearly service of worship, the Fisher family rescues a woman, a young boy, and an infant from a shipwreck.
The boy is Brightspear, heir of the Suns. He and the woman live as a family and she carefully schools him in the beliefs of his Sunnish people. The sea goddess names the infant Eyas and gives him the gift of understanding of the brutes of the earth. He becomes a son of the Fishers and is raised as a member of the People.
As they reach manhood, the boys become enemies and Brightspear escapes, back to his own people and his birthright as the leader of the Suns.
When the goddess no longer comes to the People, they lose faith and troubles multiply. Eyas has been using his gift from the goddess and making friends of the brutes. He agrees to lead, and attempt to unite, all the northern humans and brutes against the Suns.
The business of war and the politics of uniting the tribes into an army fills Eyas’ life. But underneath is the creeping realization that his mission from the goddess is larger still — he must save the men and beasts from the Messengers (from whom the dead speak) and destroy Hell.
How Eyas goes about this overwhelming and terrifying mission is the heart of the story. His journey to Skyland brings understanding and knowledge to him and subsequently to the People and peace to the world. It also brings enlightenment to the reader.
The novel is sometimes heavy going, but its fascinating population of men and creatures and its constant action keep the reader involved. In its 70-year span, it moves from peace and politics, to sex and violence, murder and war, perception and understanding, and back to peace.
Eyas does not make for light entertainment, but it has a blend of fictional history and science fiction that is sure to be of interest to many readers.